Greenwich Stilt Houses Foreshadow Impact of New FEMA Maps
Comment of the Day

August 19 2013

Commentary by David Fuller

Greenwich Stilt Houses Foreshadow Impact of New FEMA Maps

Here is the opening for this informative article from Bloomberg
In the coastal areas of Greenwich, Connecticut, the latest housing craze requires hydraulic jacks, pylons and stilts. One home towers over its neighbors like a cruise ship. Others look like expensive tree houses.

Ten months after Hurricane Sandy, Greenwich is among the first U.S. municipalities to adopt revised flood maps from theFederal Emergency Management Agency that predict fiercer waves and higher storm surges. In doing so, the town has fallen in line with a federal initiative meant to thin the density of low-lying coastal populations, prepare for more damaging weather and reduce rebuilding costs borne by taxpayers.

The maps add as much as 5 feet to previous predictions of how high the waters of Long Island Sound would rise during a 100-year storm like Sandy. Starting next year, homes in surge areas across the country won't qualify for flood-insurance rates based on the old maps. That means some homeowners will face a choice between paying as much as $150,000 to raise their houses or accepting premium increases as high as $20,000 a year

David Fuller's view It is controversial but I take global warming very seriously. For most of us, it is not something to panic about but I would certainly be wary of ocean waterfront properties which are not at least 30 feet above sea level. Personally, living in South Kensington I am concerned about the adequacy of London's flood defences.

On a similar basis, I would also be concerned about riverfront properties, or those built in areas that have historically been floodplains. We have seen plenty of flood damage in recent years and this second article from Bloomberg: Russia's Worst Flooding Inundates 124 Towns in Far East Regions is sobering.

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