From BloombergNews: FEMA Bought 44,000 Flood-Prone Homes. They May Have to Buy Millions More. Few Americans have voluntarily sold properties to the government to avoid future flood damage. That’s likely to change.
From the NYTimes, this article about recovery: How the University of Iowa Recovered From the ‘Unfathomable’ Flood That Ruined It. Two excerpts:
Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get the federal portion of rebuilding costs was “a challenge,” recalled Sally Mason, the president of the university during the flood and its aftermath. The complications included navigating arcane federal rules and dealing with a changing cast of officials. That the process ended up a success story is a testament to the university’s persistence, patience and the deployment of the university’s resources to address the problems.
Of all the lessons from 2008, perhaps the most important is that “mother nature’s changing on us,” *** and although the campus is better protected than ever before, “you can never feel quite comfortable about something you don’t control,” ***.As Mr. Guckert put it, “We haven’t seen our worst flood yet.”
After two devastating floods in recent years, this historic city is conflicted over how to mitigate against future floods. See: In Ellicott City, painful debate on preventing deadly floods in historic district.
From Governing: Risky Waters. Everyone knows it is a bad idea to develop new developments on flood prone land. So why do we keep doing it?
From a business insurance source: Harvey damage illustrates need for disaster preparedness: Study. Excerpts:
Hurricane Harvey served as a stark wake-up call about the need to enhance flood resilience, including limiting or preventing federal insurance coverage of new properties in flood zones, according to a study released Thursday.
Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Aug. 25, 2017, as a Category 4 storm and dropped more than 40 inches of rain over the next four days, causing catastrophic flooding. Total economic damage from the hurricane is estimated at $125 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office for Coastal Management, making it the second-costliest tropical cyclone on record after Hurricane Katrina.
But only a small fraction of these Harvey losses, about $19.4 billion, were insured, including $8.4 billion in flood losses insured by the National Flood Insurance Program, $2.7 billion in insured vehicle losses, $4.9 billion in insured commercial losses and $3.4 billion in other losses, according to a Post-Event Review Capability study on the Houston floods resulting from Harvey conducted by Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., ISET-International — a nonprofit organization committed to building resilience — and the American Red Cross Global Disaster Preparedness Center.
Historic town suffered it second 1,000 year flood in two years. See: Do You return After Another 1000 year Flood? Some excerpts from the article about the rebuilding efforts there for the past two years:
Funding for water infrastructure programs finally did come through, just three weeks ago, with a little more than $1 million for flood-mitigation in Ellicott City from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
But that will barely get the front-end loaders cranking on a project that’s a $10 million event — for openers.
The planning folks warned everyone this would happen. They issued a 2014 report that detailed what needed to be done to tame those raging waters. And nothing happened. Then, after the 2016 flood, the report was rebooted last June as the “Ellicott City Hydrology/Hydraulic Study and Concept Mitigation Analysis. Conclusion: “The nature and scope of such improvements is significant in scope, impact and cost. It will require a long term planning and implementation effort.”
A new study has revealed for the first time the last 500-year flood history of the Mississippi River. It shows a dramatic rise in the size and frequency of extreme floods in the past century—mostly due to projects to straighten, channelize, and bound the river with artificial levees. The new research also uncovered a clear pattern over the centuries linking flooding on the Mississippi with natural fluctuations of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean water temperatures.
“More than half of the United States must at least double their protection level within the next two decades if they want to avoid a dramatic increase in river flood risks,” says lead-author Sven Willner from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Without additional adaptation measures – such as enhancing dykes, improved river management, increasing building standards, or relocating settlements – the number of people affected by the worst 10 percent of all river flooding events will increase in many places …..”
From the NY Times: When Rising Seas Transform Risk Into Certainty. “Along parts of the East Coast, the entire system of insuring coastal property is beginning to break down.”
Tension over Louisiana’s recovery from last year’s catastrophic floods became the focus of a Congressional hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, with Republican congressmen repeatedly taking aim at Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.
The committee chairman from Utah asked Edwards if he was “clueless;” a representative from Georgia repeatedly asked Edwards why he didn’t call for an evacuation ahead of the floods; a North Carolina congressman demanded more information about the state’s process of finding an administrator to oversee upcoming housing recovery programs.
The hearing was billed as a deep-dive into the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to the floods nearly eight months into the recovery process, but most of the heat came down on the state.