Monday, November 07, 2005

Extreme Weather Woes

On a beautiful day like those we had this past weekend, it's difficult (not to mention unpleasant) to conjure up images of category 5 destruction like that left in the wake of Katrina other other hurricanes that have hit the US in the past several years. But, according to several recent reports, including one in last week's Post, experts are issuing dire warnings about the likelihood of more extreme storms hitting the Atlantic basin in the next 15 to 20 years.

Extreme weather cycles combined with overdevelopment in waterfront areas during the more sedate periods and destruction of valuable wetland buffer have left many coastal areas in the Atlantic and Gulf coast exceedingly vulnerable to destruction.

Certainly many Anne Arundel County residents, particularly those in waterfront Annapolis and south county, suffered massive damage from Isabel in 2003. Unfortunately, according to another report, this time from the Maryland Department of the Environment, the county is vulnerable to upwards of $1 billion in damage from future flooding because of its proximity to the Bay and abundance of waterfront housing.

Keeping homes in Anne Arundel County out of the 100-year flood plain, and those in hurricane alley out of the waterfront regions most likely to flood or be destroyed by storm surge might, as well as restoring wetland buffer, might not be the most popular decisions, but they are ones that will help save lives and billions of dollars when we weather the next inevitable storm.

NOTE: If you're in Annapolis (or Virginia), don't forget that tomorrow is election day!

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