Future flooding could cost Vermont more than $ 5.2 billion in damage, new study finds – NECN


New research from the University of Vermont puts a staggering price tag on potential flood damage over the next century.

“I think this is a red flag,” said Jesse Gourevitch, lead author of the UVM study.

The report says the costs of flood damage in Vermont, purely in terms of money, could reach nearly $ 5.3 billion over the next century, which would explain the predicted worsening of storms due to the climate change. This dollar figure is more than double expectations under current conditions.

Gourevitch said he and his colleagues have discovered that low-income homeowners should bear the greatest flood burdens depending on the location of homes at risk, such as in mobile home parks near rivers. Therefore, the study suggests that interventions should really take into account the most vulnerable people.

“This study shows that more and more people will be directly impacted by climate change,” said Gourevitch. “But to me, that doesn’t mean these results are set in stone or that there is nothing that can be done about them.”

Climate Central’s new sea-level rise report and maps show what flooding would look like at major landmarks and cities in 2030. NBCLX storyteller Chase Cain details the report, which regions of the world would be most affected by seawater and what leaders need to do before 2030 to avoid the worst possible outcomes.

The recent UVM PhD holder said measures such as restoring floodplains and wetlands, stabilizing riverbanks and planting more vegetation can help reduce the impacts of flooding.

“Flooding is the number one natural hazard we face in Vermont,” said Ben Rose, who leads recovery and mitigation efforts for Vermont Emergency Management.


Photos of flood damage in Vermont during a storm in the summer of 2021.

Rose said he believed the UVM study would help inform discussions about the impacts of climate change.

As NECN reported in August, since Tropical Storm Irene over a decade ago, Vermont has been a leader in rebuilding after destructive floods with long-term resilience in mind. A washed out bridge, for example, is now likely to be replaced with a larger culvert underneath – which is more capable of withstanding much heavier water flows.

Vermonters reflect on Tropical Storm Irene, which caused flash floods that devastated communities across the state ten years ago.

Other work is also underway, Rose said, including funding for risk mitigation grants.

“Land use planning will be the long-term answer to reducing Vermont’s vulnerability to flooding,” Rose predicted.

When it comes to how individuals can prepare for flooding, recommendations from emergency officials include checking with your city offices if your property is at risk of flooding and knowing where to look for higher ground, including walk.

For more information on flood preparedness visit this website: https://vem.vermont.gov/preparedness/floods


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