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PVDJack

The Potential for Metro Flooding

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Since moving to Providence earlier this year, seeing our hurricane barrier, and then witnessing the destruction of Katrina, I've often wondered what, if anything, global warming and the arguably related trend of more frequent and stronger hurricanes might mean for the coastlines of my new metro area.

The Projo has an interesting piece today showing potential floodlines in the event of a hurricane. (Click on "Metro")

Frankly, my admittedly unscientific view is as worried about the general rising of sea levels as any hurricane. Especially given that the center of so much of the new and planned development is on the low lying areas of Downcity and the Jewelry District.

Jack

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Since moving to Providence earlier this year, seeing our hurricane barrier, and then witnessing the destruction of Katrina, I've often wondered what, if anything, global warming and the arguably related trend of more frequent and stronger hurricanes might mean for the coastlines of my new metro area.

The Projo has an interesting piece today showing potential floodlines in the event of a hurricane. (Click on "Metro")

Frankly, my admittedly unscientific view is as worried about the general rising of sea levels as any hurricane. Especially given that the center of so much of the new and planned development is on the low lying areas of Downcity and the Jewelry District.

Jack

my opinion is that it's been a while since a major hurricane has made it up here. most of the ones we saw this year went to the gulf coast or went inland too soon to reach us with any power. that isn't to say that it can't happen in the future.

what should be in question is whether or not the hurricane barrier has actually prevented major flooding of the city. has it actually be used?

something i would worry about more is the spring thaw rather than hurricanes. the past couple winters have been tough and this one isn't looking to be any easier with the storms doing some crazy things. if we get enough snow at once and it gets warm enough and even starts to rain (april showers mixed with melting snow), that will cause more problems than any of the hurricanes have.

just be glad that providence isn't below sea level. even with the hurricane barrier, with enough rain, the rivers in the city could flood... and that could cause problems in more than areas than just downtown.

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I surprised that the state is moving so fast to get some of these things done.. so I feel safe as compared to a year ago. Just seeing those maps gives us all a great idea of if we have any reason to worry in a worst case scenario.

I would however like the hurricane barrier to be upgraded to withstand the most devastating Cat 5 Hurricane that mother nature can muster. The last thing Providence needs is to be flooded for weeks.

Also, I believe that the day 2 article on this series mentioned that our beaches used to replenish the sand.

Why arent we doing this anymore? especially along matunik which is eroding so much every year..

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My understadning is that the rivers that flow into Providence don't have such big watersheds to cause catastrophic flooding.

The bigger danger is the bay and the tidal surge from a hurricane.

The Hurricane Barrier is supposed to keep Downtown from getting flooded as it was in 38 and 56.

But since they built the Barrier there has not been a really major hurricane so it remains largely untested.

Basically I think Providence can weather a major hurricane. The densely built communities along the beaches in So. County, on the other hand, are screwed.

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my opinion is that it's been a while since a major hurricane has made it up here.

The last hurricane that made it's way this far was in the either '84 or '85. If I remember correctly, Hartford got the worst of it. I can remember trying to navigate east side streets with so many downed tree limbs.

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I surprised that the state is moving so fast to get some of these things done.. so I feel safe as compared to a year ago. Just seeing those maps gives us all a great idea of if we have any reason to worry in a worst case scenario.

I would however like the hurricane barrier to be upgraded to withstand the most devastating Cat 5 Hurricane that mother nature can muster. The last thing Providence needs is to be flooded for weeks.

Also, I believe that the day 2 article on this series mentioned that our beaches used to replenish the sand.

Why arent we doing this anymore? especially along matunik which is eroding so much every year..

what is the likelihood that a hurricane will hit with category 5 (or even category 4) winds by the time it reaches the northeast? if you actually look at the paths of hurricanes (and why they re-build speeds), it's highly unlikely. i lived in southern CT during gloria (the one in 85 or 85 that frankie mentioned), probably the worst recent hurricane (heck, i also lived there during bob and whatever that last one was that hit about 6 or 7 years ago, george was it?). gloria was a category 2 storm when it made landfall at long island (CT's own hurricane barrier). the reason they pick up speed has to do with the temperature of the water and the air, and up north, especially later on in the season, it's just too cold for a storm to pack that much punch by the time it reaches the northeast (they're called tropical storms for a reason).

there are parts of the country that are more susceptible to natural disaster than others (southeast and gulf coast with hurricanes, mid-west with tornadoes, and california with earthquakes and wildfires). we happen to live in one of the safer parts. :thumbsup:

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what is the likelihood that a hurricane will hit with category 5 (or even category 4) winds by the time it reaches the northeast? if you actually look at the paths of hurricanes (and why they re-build speeds), it's highly unlikely.

Well, we've had two bad ones, in '38 and '56, but in those days did they even have a unit of messurement like we have now. And would it have been a 4 or 5 ? Probably given the damage that was done.

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Well, we've had two bad ones, in '38 and '56, but in those days did they even have a unit of messurement like we have now. And would it have been a 4 or 5 ? Probably given the damage that was done.

the hurricane of 38 was category 3 just before landfall on long island. the hurricane of 56 is harder to find information for, although i did find a map that shows the hurricanes of that year and none of them directly made landfall in the northeast.

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there are parts of the country that are more susceptible to natural disaster than others (southeast and gulf coast with hurricanes, mid-west with tornadoes, and california with earthquakes and wildfires). we happen to live in one of the safer parts. :thumbsup:

Except for the occasional Nor'Easter and blizzard!! :whistling:

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If you read about the Hurricane that hit Providence in the early part of the last century, it's actually pretty amazing. There was really no forecasting at that time... No weather satellites, no doppler radar, etc... You just woke up that morning, it started to rain, and WHAM! A hurricane. Even the areas hit before Providence (like Long Island) were unable to warn areas to the East since telegraph and phone lines were down!

Go into the Arcade on Westminster. They've got some amazing flood photos in the stairway in the middle of the building, and the Biltmore has some amazing flood photos in their lobby as well.

- Garris

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The hurricane barrier was used during Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and is credited with preventing flooding in Downtown Providence. The flooding would not have been at the same scale as 1938, but without the barrier, downtown would have flooded in '85. Anyone who lived on Cape Cod in 1991, would know that it has not been that long since southern New England took a big hit. Hurricane Bob was one of the top 20 most expensive storms in the US.

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Somewhere on the intertubes there were maps of the metro area and the potential flood plains. I remember looking at the maps but can't for the life of me find them now.

Anyone know where they live?

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Somewhere on the intertubes there were maps of the metro area and the potential flood plains. I remember looking at the maps but can't for the life of me find them now.

Anyone know where they live?

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Found this on a quick search in Providence Business News from March 31, 2008: New flood zone maps in the works for RI

Here's the short answer to your question about flooding:

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency considers the entire state a flood zone."

And here I was feeling all smug that I lived on Federal Hill - time to start building that ark.

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