Across the country and throughout the state of Florida, a rise in sea levels globally is impacting homeowners, putting properties at risk of flooding. Rising sea levels, more hurricanes hitting our shores each year, and increasing flood risk for homeowners is affecting entire communities. In fact, during the past year the Federal Emergency Management Administration listed more than 20,000 U.S. communities as flood zone designated. The list identifies homes facing an increasing risk of flooding from natural events, including hurricanes. This shows just how important it is to create an emergency preparedness plan and pack an emergency kit before a disaster happens.
Research compiled from leading scientists around the world, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows that sea levels have risen eight inches or more since 1880 when measurements first began. Making the problem worse, scientists are also tracking a marked increase in rising levels, which are now showing even larger increases each year. For homeowners across Florida, especially those living in coastal areas, the threat of rising sea levels is real. The time is now for residents to begin planning for an increasing risk of flooding from storm surge due to rising sea levels.
Who is most at risk by rising sea levels?
Climate Central’s recent research report highlighted 14.6 million properties across the U.S. now at risk of flood damage from a 100-year event. Many homeowners across the country and throughout Florida live in densely packed areas near the coast, which made the list. In addition, the research shows that weather conditions that cause floods are happening at a much higher rate each year, from 300% to 900% more often than just 50 years ago. That goes for high-tide flooding conditions as well, which are also increasing at rates from 300% to 900% higher.
Climate Central identified homeowners in the following U.S. cities as having the highest flood risk in the future based on their research:
- Cape Coral
- Port Charlotte
- St. Petersburg
- Fort Myers
- Key West
Other U.S. Cities
- Chicago, IL
- Chattanooga, TN
- New Orleans, LA
- Corpus Christi, TX
- Houston, TX
- Galveston, TX
Protecting Florida from Increasing Flood Risk
Across the country, leaders are planning today for an increased risk of flooding in the future due to rising sea levels and monster storms. The state of Florida is helping lead the way, along with storm-battered New Orleans and progressive city planners in Boston, MA.
Environmental and city leaders in Florida are working together to save the Everglades from rising sea levels. The important wildlife habitat is also a major protector of coastal areas impacted by rising seas. As the state plans for increasing hurricane impacts in the future, protecting cities and coastal areas from flooding is tied closely to the health of the Florida Everglades.
In New Orleans, help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after damaging floods in the wake of Hurricane Katrina resulted in a complex system of flood protection efforts. The system of levees and floodwalls that now protects homeowners and businesses from flooding due to storm surge provides key lessons learned for the future. Finally, in Boston, city leaders are working to redesign coastal areas to protect wildlife habitats that provide natural flood protection to the city and creating new flood barriers as well.
Protecting Florida Homes Against Flooding
As Florida residents, we can’t wait for city leaders to protect our homes against the increasing risk of hurricanes and floods. Homeowners can also prepare by researching and adding flood insurance protections to their home insurance policies. In addition, FEMA recommends the following actions to reduce the costly effects of flooding on your home:
- Use flood-resistant building materials and interior design items, including carpet.
- Add reinforcements to roofing and garage doors.
- Install hurricane shutters.
- Move electrical boxes above the flood line, as well as utilities and HVAC systems.
Many new homes are also designed and built on an elevation to reduce the effects of flooding. If your home is at risk for flooding and not built on stilts, consider the following flood protections:
- Install an interior sump pump and backup battery.
- Add flood vents to walls and sewer backflow valves.
For information on what to do after a flood, check out this article.
Emergency Preparedness Planning
In addition to floodproofing your home, Floridians know the importance of preparing and practicing an emergency plan and building a disaster preparedness kit. When was the last time you reviewed your own plan and emergency kit? Each season, it’s important to take another look and make sure your plan is updated and your kit packed and ready to go in response to an emergency. Consider:
- Review and update homeowner’s insurance policies
- Pack essential paperwork in airtight containers and store at an elevated level
- Review and practice your emergency plan, know your evacuation routes, and review your list of essential items to take with you
- Update your emergency kit, including testing batteries and electronics, checking food “sell by” dates, and ensuring your first aid kit is up to date
For a professional review of your flood risk, with a free inspection and estimate on recommended floodproofing, contact Florida Foundation Authority today.