Three years ago, our home was still without power after the flooding caused by the ten inches of rain from tropical storm Lee, falling on ground already saturated by hurricane Irene a few days before. Standing water from the flooding was two blocks away. Flooded basements were a block away. If we had not had a generator to keep our sump pump going, we would have wound up with at least several inches of water in our basement. It was a record flood of the Susquehanna in our town and the tributary creek behind our house nearly overtopped the flood wall that is designed to direct the water to the undeveloped flood plain on the other bank.
There are segments on the local news about the anniversary and saying that the area is almost recovered, glossing over the fact that property buyouts only became available to people in local towns after hurricane Sandy devastated the coast. Demolitions only began in earnest this spring and are still continuing.
There will be no recovery for those who left the area permanently after longtime homes were destroyed. Some businesses closed permanently in the aftermath. Only some of the infrastructure repairs hae been completed.
One of the more disturbing elements of the situation is that there has been little to no preparation for the next severe flooding event which is sure to come with the increased threat of heavy rain that goes along with global warming. We should be restoring wetlands along the river and its tributaries and re-designing our storm drainage and sewage systems which caused so much trouble in the last two record floods that have occurred in the last ten years. Work also needs to be done with our water system and electrical system to make them more robust in emergencies.
Yes, it is expensive to do these things, but more expensive not to do them and to be cleaning up and rebuilding – again – after the next flood.
Personal note: I haven’t been posting much lately because I managed to get pretty sick. I’m finally bouncing back and hope to have a few more posts out over the next week. Fingers crossed.