Critical infrastructure is vulnerable to flooding from climate change—why it’s not just coastal cities at risk

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Matthew Eby:

Well, it’s a really interesting result that we found is that the places that you would normally think that have a lot of risk as you’re mentioning, you know, the Floridas, the Louisianas, the Texas. Those places actually still have a lot of risk. There’s a lot of critical infrastructure at risk. But the surprising part that we found is there’s a lot of alluvial flooding or precipitation flooding that sees the middle of America have a lot of risk.

So places like West Virginia, which you wouldn’t think about as being a big flood area, has a significant amount of critical infrastructure that has inoperable risk, meaning that if the floodwaters make it to the building, it would render things inoperable. Police stations, hospitals, those things that are critical to the community, but also things that you wouldn’t necessarily think about right away. But you can see from news stories that they actually are impacted in a big way like utilities. So, Ida went through and knocked out, didn’t really flood a lot of areas in Louisiana that were impacted areas, but the big story was that the utility was knocked off and that it wasn’t able to operate for the area.