“As the aftermath of Sandy has shown, ignoring safety warnings and evacuation orders can have grave consequences for yourself and others. Cities and states can work to develop and expand their emergency plans by including the uncertainty factor of climate change including storm surges, increased coastal and riverine flooding and evacuation plans.
However, looking long term, cities and states need to do more than just develop and expand emergency plans. We are moving into a world where 100-year floods are now 5-year floods. Rethinking how we build our infrastructure is critical.
We need to modernize building codes; implement setbacks; develop green infrastructure at meaningful scales, and take better advantage of natural systems like barrier islands and wetlands, to better manage stormwater and storm surge; and ensure that our power and transportation systems are able to withstand the new normal. Investing in these vital infrastructure upgrades now will be expensive, but that expense will be a fraction of the cost of recovery from disasters like Katrina, Irene, and Sandy.”