Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chances tripled that Florida towns will see historic storm surge

Eric Staats in the Marco Eagle (Florida): The Gulf of Mexico is on the rise and so is the storm surge risk for thousands of Southwest Florida homes, a report released Wednesday by a climate change advocacy group says.

The New Jersey-based nonprofit group, Climate Central, ranks Florida the No. 1 state in the nation for vulnerability to sea level rise. The report puts Lee and Collier counties in the Top 10 most vulnerable counties based on numbers of people living less than 4 feet above high tide. Collier is ninth; Lee is fifth.

Sea level rise brought on by global warming is dramatically increasing the odds that 5 million people living on the U.S. coast will face storm surges by 2030 that had been considered so rare that the chances of them occurring were only 1 percent in any given year, the report says.

Collier County officials and community leaders said Wednesday that local governments have not done enough to start a community dialogue about how to handle sea level rise. "We don't need to be wading to the meeting about what we're going to do; we need to talk about it now," said Steve Hart, coordinator of a county citizens committee looking at ways to reduce global warming by saving energy....

A Florida beach, shot by Mark Griffin, public domain

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