On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sally a new report by Healthy Gulf summarizes the impacts of the storm on northwest Florida and opportunities to reduce flood risk in future storms. HURRICANE SALLY: IMPACTS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR NW FLORIDA notes a few key findings, including:
Socially vulnerable residents inside the City of Pensacola were disproportionately impacted by the storm;
Federal flood maps alone are not enough to inform communities about flood risk, as 44% of Sally-related flood reports in Santa Rosa County occurred outside of FEMA flood zones;
Climate change made Sally’s storm surge higher and likely contributed to higher rainfall amounts;
A number of steps can be taken to reduce local flood risk in future storms, including better mapping of flood prone areas and public distribution of maps, converting certain flood-prone areas to public park spaces, and eliminating public expenditures for infrastructure serving new development in flood prone areas, among other measures.
“There are always opportunities to learn from the hurricanes and other extreme storm events that affect us here in northwest Florida,” says Healthy Gulf coastal organizer Christian Wagley. “We hope that elected officials and local government staff consider our findings and recommendations in the interest of reducing flood risk in future storms and better protecting vulnerable populations.”
The full report is attached and is also available online here.