Study: Is­land at high risk of flood­ing by ris­ing seas

Coming in­put from FEMA could fur­ther al­ter town build­ing codes.

Palm Beach Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By DAR­RELL HOFHEINZ

Lo­cals of­ten re­fer to Palm Beach sim­ply as “the is­land.”

And that nick­name takes on an es­pe­cially sig­nif­i­cant mean­ing when the con­ver­sa­tion turns to the bar­rier is­land’s risk of flood­ing if sea lev­els rise, as lead­ing cli­ma­tol­o­gists pre­dict they will over the coming decades.

With the At­lantic Ocean on one side of the nar­row is­land and the In­tra­coastal Wa­ter­way on the other, Palm Beach is among those in the eye of the sea-level storm.

Such con­cerns were brought into sharp re­lief in a na­tion­wide study re­leased last week by the Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists. The study paired real es­tate data from the on­line com­pany Zil­low with worst-case sea-level-rise sce­nar­ios compiled by the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion. The anal­y­sis was re­ported Mon­day by the Palm Beach Post.

The study ex­am­ines prop­er­ties by ZIP code, in­clud­ing 33480, which in­cludes Palm Beach and South Palm Beach. In those ar­eas alone, 720 homes in low-ly­ing ar­eas will be at risk of chronic flood­ing from ris­ing sea lev­els by the year 2045, the study pre­dicts. Those prop­er­ties have an es­ti­mated value of about $1 bil­lion in to­day’s dol­lars.

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