In a recent study on population, climate change and storm frequency, science journal Nature Climate Change ranked the Top 10 metropolitan areas that are vulnerable to the largest average annual losses from flooding.
Where did Boston fall? Number 8, with $237 million worth of damage to its land and infrastructure currently at risk! Compared to U.S. cities, we fall behind only Miami (2) New York (3), and New Orleans (4). The other cities in the top 10 were Guangzhou, China (1), Mumbai, India (5), Nagoya, Japan (6), Tampa, Florida (7), Shenzen, China (9) and Osaka, Japan (10).
Aptly named "Future Flooding in Major Coastal Cities," researchers at the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) examined population trends, climate change, storm frequency, flood protection measures, and cost of damage models for 136 large coastal cities around the world. OECD forecasted that average flood losses per city could multiply from $6 billion in 2005 to $1 trillion a year by 2050--if cities don't take steps to prepare its residents, businesses and infrastructure.
So, enough of the good news.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and in honor September's National Preparedness Month, we are here to tell you that the City of Boston is taking steps to prepare for climate change and its effects (sea level rise and flooding, in particular). And you should too, regardless of whether you live near the water.
Why? Because most of the financial losses from Sandy in New York City actually occurred outside the floodplain. Floodplain maps only take into account historical data, leaving out important information about sea level rise and more intense storms. So even if you think you are out of harm's way, Mother Nature may disagree. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure the safety of you, your family and your property:
Step 1: Know your hazards
We are focusing on flooding today ('tis the Hurricane season), but there are a variety of hazards that impact Boston. Make sure you know what sorts of unexpected you can expect.
Step 2: Make a plan
Do you have a meeting spot? Do you know where the nearest evacuation route or shelter is? Use this tool to walk you through making a plan for you and your family.
Step 3: Make a kit
Your kit will include a household emergency kit for sheltering-in-place and a Go Bag, for when you need to evacuate. You should have both prepared ahead of time.
Step 4: Be informed
The most important thing you can do is tune in and follow directions from the authorities. Sign up for Alert Boston, follow @AlertBoston on Twitter, or consider investing in a solar or crank-powered radio. By staying informed, you'll know what to do before, during and after the storm. Knowledge is power, and in an emergency, it can be a lifesaver.
Step 5: Get involved
There is a hero inside us all. Learn about the variety of ways you can get involved to help ensure your neighbors and community are safe
Want more tips and resources? Follow the City of Boston's Twitter conversation about National Preparation Month all September-long at #ReadyBos.