resilience reporter

resilience starts with information

‘100-year’ floods will happen every 1 to 30 years, according to new flood maps

Another Harvey? Houston isn’t ready. [Editorial]

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People and rescue boats line Tidwell at the east Sam Houston Tollway as rescues continue from flooding following Hurricane Harvey Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. Photo: Melissa Phillip, Staff / Houston Chronicle

Ask officials if we’re better prepared today than we were when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in 2017, and the answer is as quick as it is alarming: No.

Ask why we are not better prepared, and the answer is more complicated but just as troubling.

It took only four days for the massive storm to dump trillions of gallons of water on Harris County. In 96 hours, more than 75 lives were lost, hundreds of thousands of families were displaced and billions of dollars of property damage piled up…

 

‘100-year’ floods will happen every 1 to 30 years, according to new flood maps

A 100-year flood is supposed to be just that: a flood that occurs once every 100 years, or a flood that has a one-percent chance of happening every year.

But Princeton researchers have developed new maps that predict coastal flooding for every county on the Eastern and Gulf Coasts and find 100-year floods could become annual occurrences in New England; and happen every one to 30 years along the southeast Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shorelines.

“The historical 100-year floods may change to one-year floods in Northern coastal towns in the U.S.,” said Ning Lin, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton University.

In a new paper published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers combined storm surge, sea level rise, and the predicted increased occurrence and strength in tropical storms and hurricanes to create a map of flood hazard possibility along the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Coastlines at northern latitudes, like…

 

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