From the NYTimes: New Data Reveals Hidden Flood Risk Across America
Nearly twice as many properties may be susceptible to flood damage than previously thought, according to a new effort to map the danger.
Across much of the United States, the flood risk is far greater than government estimates show, new calculations suggest, exposing millions of people to a hidden threat — and one that will only grow as climate change worsens.
That new calculation, which takes into account sea-level rise, rainfall and flooding along smaller creeks not mapped federally, estimates that 14.6 million properties are at risk from what experts call a 100-year flood, far more than the 8.7 million properties shown on federal government flood maps. A 100-year flood is one with a 1 percent chance of striking in any given year.
Venice (Italy) Floods Are a Sad Tale of Bureaucracy and Corruption. Yes, climate change is to blame for the worst flooding since 1966. But the management of the MOSE flood defense project has been pretty abject.
From the NYTimes: The Great Flood of 2019: A Complete Picture of a Slow-Motion Disaster.
Public interest in natural disasters tends to focus on big, discrete weather events like hurricanes. But flooding that unfolds over months across a broad area has a harder time breaking through. It is only when seen as a single, connected event that the stunning scale of the 2019 flood season becomes clear
To measure the scope of the spring floods, The New York Times analyzed satellite data from the Joint Polar Satellite System using software, developed by government and academic researchers for flood detection, that is frequently used in disaster response.
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.”
From the Atlantic magazine: Midwestern Flooding Isn’t a Natural Disaster. “Floods and hurricanes happen. The hazard itself is not the disaster—it’s our habits, our building codes.”
New, free ebook from the NAS: Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States. You can download the summary or the whole book ( 90 pp) from this website.
From Scientific American, this article based on the new book: When Storms Hit Cities, Poor Areas Suffer Most. Low-income neighborhoods see more damage and have less political clout to advocate for fixes
Not Trusting FEMA’s Flood Maps, More Hurricane-Hit Cities Set Their Own Rules. A growing number of cities are looking beyond the usual 100-year floodplain and requiring more homes to be built higher for their own protection.
Breaking the Cycle of “Flood-Rebuild-Repeat”: New White Paper from the Sabin Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council
Since September 2017, Congress has kept the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) afloat with a series of short-term extensions, repeatedly punting on a valuable opportunity to issue a long-term reauthorization and reform the program to better protect communities from the increased risks of flooding spurred by climate change. But the federal government is not the only entity poised to take action. A new white paper from the Sabin Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council, “Breaking the Cycle of “Flood-Rebuild-Repeat”: Local and State Options to Improve Substantial Damage and Improvement Standards in the National Flood Insurance Program,” proposes legal and policy reforms that states and localities can implement to make their communities more resilient and to update the NFIP for the realities of climate change.
Thanks to Chris Jones for the citation.