City Flood Measures in Question as Miami and New Orleans Take on Water

Road Closure From FloodingIs your region really ready for flooding? Even regions that think they’ve got their bases covered should plan for worst-case scenarios, as both Miami and New Orleans saw last week.

Tropical Storm Emily hit Miami on Aug. 1, pouring down water at a rate of 7 inches per hour. That’s twice what the city’s infrastructure is capable of handling, particularly since not all of it is covered by the anti-flood pump system that cost the area $500 million.

The pumps did work – but only in the 15% of the city where they’re currently installed. Other parts of Miami saw waist-high floods and power outages, and an estimated $450,000 in property damage.

Aug. 5 saw torrential rains – as much as 10 inches in some areas – fall on New Orleans. It was an extremely rare meteorological event with only a 1-2% chance of happening (a “100-year event”). There are questions over the flood pump system there as well. The pumps are reportedly meant to only be used during hurricanes, and as such didn’t activate until several parts of the city were already under water, and lower-lying areas took longer to drain.

As both areas recover and learn how to better utilize their flood systems, other regions under threat of flooding should take note that even the most expensive measures aren’t full-proof, and plan accordingly.

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