By Michael Godfried, Senior Planner, UW Institute for Hazard Mitigation Planning & Research
Washington State Emergency Management Division has just released the Manual for Tsunami Vertical Evacuation Structures. The Manual was produced by the University of Washington Institute for Hazards Mitigation Planning and Research and funded by a National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Grant.
Please go to the following link: https://www.mil.wa.gov/tsunami
The Manual provides a process for communities to follow to plan, fund and build these structures and includes guidance on specific roles, funding sources and recommendations. Over 30 interviews and 2 public meetings in Ocean Shores and Aberdeen helped to inform the content of the Manual. The appendices document the public process and list valuable resources for communities.
By Nicole Faghin, Coastal Management Specialist, Washington Sea Grant
Washington State boasts 3,000 miles of coastline dotted with over 9,000 homes and critical infrastructure valued at more than $5.25 billion. The state’s Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs) play an important role in managing the land and environment affecting these resources. As we face increased storms and coastal flooding, we need to ensure our goals, policies and regulations address planning for and accommodating future conditions.
Starting in 2019, cities and counties in Washington State will begin to periodically update their SMPs. This may be an opportunity for communities to explore ways to incorporate sea level rise into these planning and regulatory documents. The question is where to start with this effort, and how should this issue be raised?
By Guillaume Mauger, Research Scientist, Climate Impacts Group, UW Seattle
Sea level rise isn’t the only factor driving changes in flood risk for Washington State: many rivers and creeks in the region are projected to see higher peak flows in the future. This is especially a concern in estuaries, where the combined changes in river flow and sea level could dramatically change the outlook for flooding.
Rivers flood because of high flows, of course, and there are two principal ways that climate change could affect the size and frequency of flooding. The most well-known is by decreasing the amount of snowpack. Mountain snow acts as a reservoir, holding back water in winter and releasing it in summer. As temperatures rise, storm events bring more rain and less snow. Much of that excess rain goes directly into our rivers, leading to bigger floods. The other major effect is the intensity of our rain events – research has only recently begun to quantify how our big storms might change in the future, and that modeling generally shows that those storms will bring more rain. More rain means larger floods. This is all summarized in a nice infographic, developed by the Skagit Climate Science Consortium, or SC2.
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