Sea levels are rising and climate scientists blame global warming. They predict that higher seas will cause more coastal flooding through this century and beyond, even in places that have normally been high and dry.
But mapping where future floods will strike has barely begun.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency maps where people are at moderate or high risk of flooding. Most people with property in hazardous areas — where the annual risk of a flood is one in a hundred or more — are required by law to buy federal flood insurance from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
But FEMA’s insurance maps are based on past patterns of flooding. Future sea level rise — which is expected to create new, bigger flood zones — is not factored in.
So some communities are doing the mapping themselves. Like Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland.
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