Floods are becoming increasingly common and more destructive. In recent years, the number of people at risk from floods has risen significantly. Recent calculations show that nearly six million properties not currently included in government flood risk maps are in danger of flooding.
Poor land use, inadequate drainage systems, and overpopulation are all contributing to an increased risk. Learn reasons why more people are at risk from floods. With this understanding, we can all better understand the causes and take preventive action.
Historic Tennessee Floods
Tennessee is no stranger to flooding disasters. In 2010, a flash flood hit the Nashville area and caused an estimated 2 billion dollars in damages. Then, further flooding in various areas across the state happened over the following years. In 2021, devastating floods in middle and western Tennessee and along the Tennessee-Kentucky border killed 20 people and left many more people homeless.
The increasing frequency and intensity of floods mean that towns and cities must set up better prevention systems. One way to do that is by investing in the right type of culvert to keep water from flooding the roads.
How Urban Growth Contributes to Flooding
Urban growth plays a major part in increased flood risk. In many cases, urban development alters natural rivers and streams, blocking off drainage paths and reducing the capacity for floodwaters to escape. As cities expand, more impervious surfaces, such as roads, parking structures, sidewalks, and buildings, leave water with nowhere to go. This leads to excess runoff and flash flooding.
Urban growth increases population density, exposing more people to flood risks in a more concentrated area. This makes it even more important to take action to protect communities.
Why Storms Are Dropping More Rain
Rainfall is becoming more intense in many areas as warmer air from the tropics can carry more moisture northward, leading to more severe storms with heavier precipitation. In turn, this leads to greater flooding risks for many communities, especially those that are already vulnerable due to urban growth.
It’s clear that Tennessee communities must implement effective measures to protect homes, businesses, roads, bridges, and agricultural areas from increased flood risk. When cities and towns understand the reasons why more people are at risk from floods, they can more effectively plan for prevention and respond in the face of disaster.