Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE -

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losses. Some projects el­e­vate prop­er­ties, build flood bar­ri­ers, or strengthen roofs and win­dows against high winds. Oth­ers pur­chase prop­er­ties sub­ject to re­peated dam­age and al­low own­ers to move.

But coast­line com­mu­ni­ties face more storm threats in the fu­ture.

Global warm­ing from hu­man-gen­er­ated green­house gases is melt­ing po­lar ice and el­e­vat­ing sea lev­els at an in­creas­ing pace, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

That am­pli­fies storm surges and other flood­ing. Also, some cli­mate mod­els used by sci­en­tists pre­dict stronger, more fre­quent hur­ri­canes as an­other ef­fect of global warm­ing in com­ing decades.

“There will be some real chal­lenges for coastal towns,” pre­dicted Jamie Kruse, di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Nat­u­ral Hazards Re­search at East Carolina Univer­sity in Greenville, North Carolina. “We’ll see some of th­ese homes that are part of their tax base be­com­ing un­liv­able.”

Hazard re­searchers said they see noth­ing in the near term to re­verse the trend to­ward big­ger

storm losses. As a stop­gap, com­mu­ni­ties should cease build­ing new high-rises on the ocean­front, said Robert Young, di­rec­tor of the Pro­gram for the Study of De­vel­oped Shore­lines at West­ern Carolina Univer­sity in Cul­lowhee, North Carolina.

He said big changes prob­a­bly will not hap­pen un­less mul­ti­ple giant storms over­whelm fed­eral and state bud­gets.

“The rea­son why this de­vel­op­ment still con­tin­ues is that peo­ple are mak­ing money do­ing it,” he said. “Com­mu­ni­ties are still in­creas­ing their tax base — and that’s what politi­cians like.”

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