HURRICANE FLOODING OF US EAST COAST TO BECOME NORMAL

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8 october 2016


Hurricane Matthew’s Destructive Storm Surges Hint at New Normal


The coastal U.S. is highly vulnerable to rising seas, which are expected to surge in the coming years. Will this storm be a wake-up call?

By Laura Parker, National Geographic, October 8, 2016

As Hurricane Matthew pushes floodwaters into seaside towns from Florida to the Carolinas, climate scientist Andrea Dutton wonders if the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States in a decade will serve as a wake-up call to the perils of rising seas.

The vulnerable coast needs to pay attention, says Dutton, who teaches geology at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

“Matthew can help to change the conversation, in the way that Katrina did in New Orleans,” she says.

“When all these cities were developed, sea level was very stable. Our whole way of life is set up around the concept of having a stable coastline. We are entering a new normal. We need to redefine our relationship with the coastline and that means rethinking a lot of different things.”

Yet along the eastern seaboard, in some communities, state and federal lawmakers are still debating the existence of climate change, even as the seas rise incrementally higher on their beaches.

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