On The Radio – New study looks at freshwater flood risk from hurricanes

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall on southwestern Haiti as a category-4 storm—the strongest storm to hit the Caribbean nation in more than 50 years. Just hours after landfall, NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image. (NASA)
Jake Slobe | March 27, 2017

This week’s On The Radio segment discusses a new study showing that hurricanes can often cause more damage to land further inland than previously thought.

Transcript: A study including researchers from the University of Iowa has found that hurricanes often do more damage in the form of freshwater flooding, sometimes thousands of miles inland, than they do on the coasts.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

The study looked at freshwater flood risk from North Atlantic tropical hurricanes as part of a groundbreaking study linking hurricanes to flood insurance claims. The authors were the first to analyze future flood impacts due to climate change and urbanization.

The study found that the number of insured residential losses from freshwater flooding is twice as high as that from coastal flooding.

The study’s findings, published in Scientific Reports, could influence the way policy makers think about risk management, emergency services, flood insurance, and urban development.

Until now, research into freshwater flood risk due to hurricanes has been limited. They analyzed all significant flood events associated with U.S.  hurricanes that reached land from 2001 to 2014.

The researchers found that just one-third of total residential flood insurance claims were related to storm surge and that the impact of freshwater flooding from hurricanes was much more significant.

To learn more about the study, visit iowaenvironmentfocus.org

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

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