Hurricane Michael could bring more inland flooding to southeast states
Posted by admin on 10th October 2018

Coastal counties in North and South Carolina are still assessing damage from Hurricane Florence, which dropped up to three feet of rain in some areas in September. Now, along with southern Georgia, they face new forecasts of dangerous flooding from Hurricane Michael.

Since the 1950s, coastal communities have ordered evacuations to move people out of the paths of dangerous storms. Coastal residents also prepare by building homes elevated above anticipated high water levels, and building codes commonly call for reinforced construction to endure high wind speeds.

Today, however, risk from hurricanes is extending inland. Some of the worst damage from Eastern Seaboard hurricanes in the past several decades has come from inland flooding along rivers after storms move ashore. Hurricane evacuations typically direct coastal residents to retreat inland, but river flooding can put them at risk if there are not enough shelters and accommodations in safe locations. And inland communities may not take adequate measures to ensure the safety of their residents.

Much of my research, including my book, “Southern Waters: The Limits to Abundance,” has focused on the complex historical geography of water in the American South. What I have seen is that inland river flooding linked to hurricanes and heavy storms is a huge risk in the Southeast, but receives far less attention in emergency plans than coastal areas.