The article “High-tide flood risk is accelerating, putting coastal economies at risk” from DownToEarth says that the frequency of high-tide flooding around the US coasts has doubled since 2000.
The frequency of these events will increase to 15 times more in the next 30 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report released on July 14, 2021.
Rising sea levels are the culprit for flooding in coastal areas. Flooding can cause infrastructure failures and property values to fall.
Accurate climate information and projection can help communities prepare for these events.
According to the article, data shows increases in the average number of high tide floodings across US coastal areas, especially in the Gulf of Mexico and southeast Atlantic coasts.
In Bay St Louis, Mississippi, its average high tide flooding jumped from three days in 2000 to 22 days in 2020. NOOA projects that the number of high-tide flooding events around the US Coasts will increase from a median of 3 to 7 days this year.
Impacts on road and infrastructure
Underestimating high-tide flooding and downgrading it to “nuisance flooding” can overlook the damage it will cause to infrastructures. Flooding impedes roads, increases wear and tear on stormwater and wastewater systems.
The increasing frequency of flooding can have long-lasting impacts on infrastructure, will cause property values to decline. At the same time, insurance premiums will increase up to 90% to reflect the risk, particularly in communities that did not take action to build flood resilience.
Businesses will see fewer customers, which can affect the overall economic situation of the area.
The article also says that the poorer communities and marginalized areas are most affected by sea-level rise (SLR) and high tide flooding.
Preparing for SLR and high-tide flooding
Like those provided by NOAA, climate information and weather forecasts can help local governments, residents, and stakeholders prepare for natural hazards like rising sea levels and high tide flooding before it occurs.
“Communities can upgrade their infrastructure, such as raising roadways and installing backflow preventers in stormwater systems and modify building standards such as increasing freeboard, the distance required between the first floor and base flood level, or designating base flood elevations outside of current FEMA flood zones to help prepare communities to withstand higher seas. Communities can also work with nature to preserve and restore coastal habitats that provide natural flood protection such as marshes and barrier islands.”
According to NOAA’s new report, high tide flooding and severe flooding have already increased with sea-level rise, and it will continue to accelerate. The report urges local communities to act now to reduce the impacts and reach out to their local governments to encourage forward-thinking.
On behalf of their ratepayers, local governments have a vital role in managing their infrastructure assets, especially those related to river management, drainage, and flood protection assets.
Asset management can help local governments build resilience against extreme events by ensuring that flood protection assets, including drains, dikes, dams, dunes, storm surge barriers, and other hydraulic structures, provide the required service level during extreme events continues to do so for the foreseeable future.
Infrastructure Asset management also helps address pressing budget constraints by applying a value-based approach in prioritizing maintenance.
Asset management professionals also continuously evaluate the asset management policies and practice to manage risk and improve infrastructure resilience, especially in the face of increasing threats from extreme events and natural hazards.
Source Citation: Collini, R. (2021, July 15). High-tide risk is accelerating, putting coastal economies at risk. DownToEarth. Retrieved from https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/climate-change/high-tide-flood-risk-is-accelerating-putting-coastal-economies-at-risk-77973