The Most Costly Floods May Not Be the Ones You’re Thinking Of

Road Closure From FloodingBy now, we all know about the threats of extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. But in the near future, it will be the smaller – but more persistent – flood hazards that may cost organizations the most.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, have released a new study on the cumulative hazards of “nuisance flooding” – the smaller events caused by rising sea levels. Such flood happen multiple times in a year and aren’t catastrophic. They can even be caused by higher tides during a clear full moon. But over time, this type of flooding can degrade infrastructure, damaging roads and building foundations in coastal communities.

One example: in Washington, DC, nuisance flooding has ground from 19 hours between 1930 and 1970 to 94 over the past two decades – and projected to reach as much as 700 hours by 2050. As a result, monuments, marinas, parks and more could see damage to infrastructure.

The research team created a cumulative hazards index that pinpoints future hotspot locations that would see the greatest long-term risk, in an effort to provide policymakers with a tool to help invest in fortifications to their communities.

Click here to read the study.

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