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Hurricane Season is Here: Preparing our Coast for the Future

Content originally written by Emily Powell for National Wildlife Federation. See this and her other NWF blogs here.

Subtropical Storm Alberto just drenched much of the southeast, killing at least four people. Significant storms before the official start of hurricane season seem to be becoming less and less unusual—four of the past six years have seen named storms in May.

As water and air temperatures continue to warm under a changing climate, longer hurricane seasons and stronger storms will become more likely. In fact, a new study shows that Hurricane Harvey’s devastating and record-breaking rainfall was fueled by record high water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.

Communities hit hard by storms are painfully aware of how much time, money and resources are needed to fully recover. Towns up and down the Texas coast are struggling to be able to open their doors for the influx of summer beach-goers that, in many ways, keep many small coastal towns financially afloat.

Integrating long-term adaptation strategies from the start will get us out of this cycle of playing catch up to the last storm and instead get ourselves ahead of the next big storm. Addressing existing and future storm risks will require using all the tools in the flood mitigation toolbox to reduce risk and increase our ability to cope with storms by absorbing the brunt of impacts without incurring significant harm.

Continue reading to see how we can adapt and create more resilient coasts for people and wildlife.