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Buying a forever home? This site shows how future flooding could affect your neighborhood

This research shows the real impact of being cut off from rising sea levels

Buying a new home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life. It can be stressful, and in addition to all the considerations like schools, location, neighborhood, and home type, you also need to plan for emergencies. For those looking to buy on one of the coasts, flooding can be one of those risks you need to think about when finding your forever home. But not just flooding of your home; what will happen if that flooding results in your home being displaced from essential services like grocery stores, hospitals, and schools? It’s not something we think about every day, but for some, that possibility is closer than you may think.

A group of researchers from the University of Maryland and University of Canterbury showed that “targeted, effective, and timely climate change adaptation planning relies on estimates of how many people may be forced from their homes by sea-level rise and when this displacement will start to occur.” Simply put, they measured the possible isolation driven by sea level rise due to climate change.

Family happy after buying a home

The research

According to the research, “Given a predicted rate of sea level rise, it’s easy to tell when a site will start ending up underwater.” To do this, the team tracked every street in 48 states and compared them to sea level rise projections developed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. They then tracked each neighborhood’s access to the nearest essential business like schools, police, and hospitals. What they found was somewhat unnerving. For instance, some neighborhoods that won’t see floods until 2060 could end up isolated as early as 2030 as sea levels rise at a rapid pace.

How can homeowners be educated

The research included an interactive map that shows each state and neighborhood and the likelihood that it will be inundated or isolated by a certain date. It also shows the estimated number of isolated people by county as well, so you can see, based on where you are looking to buy, what the likelihood will be of flooding.

Obviously, it is frightening to think not only could you deal with flooding, which is a real risk when buying in a coastal area, but compounding that is the risk of being isolated from services you rely on every day and those in an emergency. Of course, anywhere you buy a home comes with risk. For some, it’s hurricanes, others tornadoes. Still others, drought or freezing temperatures. There is an inherent risk with making such a big purchase, but this research gives an educated analysis of buying in areas impacted by the ocean. It also gives prospective homebuyers an idea, if they are cut off from essential services like hospitals or school, what they can prepare for in their own homes should this occur.

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Julie Scagell
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
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