USA: Small towns fear they are unprepared for future climate-driven flooding

Source(s): NPR
More precipitation fell in the continental U.S. in the 12 months ending in May 2019 than ever recorded. Records go back more than 120 years. Blue areas had more groundwater than usual for May. Orange and red areas had less. Source: NASA Earth Observatory
More precipitation fell in the continental U.S. in the 12 months ending in May 2019 than ever recorded. Records go back more than 120 years. Blue areas had more groundwater than usual for May. Orange and red areas had less. Source: NASA Earth Observatory

By Rebecca Hersher

[...]

A bipartisan House bill put forward this week by representatives from Minnesota and Illinois would set aside more federal money for low-interest loans that could be used protect against future floods.

Many leaders of riverfront towns support the proposal because while the flood defenses in major cities largely performed well in this spring's deluge, many smaller communities were overwhelmed.

[...]

That has local emergency planners concerned about the future. Climate scientists warn that as the Earth gets hotter, more rain is falling in shorter periods of time across the Mississippi River basin. The 12-month period that ended in May was the wettest ever recorded in the United States. In the future, more extreme precipitation will likely mean higher rivers for longer periods.

[...]

The underlying issue, flood experts say, is that so many Americans live in harm's way. Millions of Americans live in flood-prone areas, either by necessity, preference, policy or a combination of all three, and climate change is exacerbating their risk.

"Stronger flood plain regulations are critical," says Laura Lightbody, the head of the flood-prepared communities initiative at The Pew Charitable Trusts. "More things, assets and people in harm's way means greater impact, costs and lives lost."

[...]

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Hazards Flood
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