2016: Year of the Flood
Last year will go down as one of historic flooding. In southeastern Louisiana, five days of downpours – rainfall totals that might occur once every 1,000 years – resulted in the worst flooding in the U.S. since Superstorm Sandy back in 2012. More than 60,000 homes filled with the waters of overflowing rivers and creeks, with damage estimates approaching $15 billion. Hurricane Matthew left a deadly trail of flooded homes in Florida and the Carolinas – more than $10 billion worth. Federal disaster assistance was needed in a long list of other states during the year: West Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Texas. Schools and businesses closed, roads and bridges were swept away, not to mention the impacts on daily life at home.
A recent article in USA TODAY looked at 2016 weather-related catastrophes and suggested that “improved building practices” may be part of the answer. Is this flooding due to climate change? Who knows. One thing is for certain: for more than a decade, SFPA has promoted the merits of building new homes above grade. Its dedicated website – RaisedFloorLiving.com – is split into two portals, one for homeowners and one for building professionals to provide necessary information and answers to frequently asked questions. Traffic to the site increased notably during the last quarter of 2016.