Almost 2,000 homes and 3,200 people in Philadelphia are at risk of 4-foot flooding by 2040, according to a new study.
Researchers at Climate Central released their report, Pennsylvania and the Surging Sea, yesterday and revealed that Philadelphia area waters could rise 19 inches by 2050, and 4 feet or more by 2100.
That seems like a long ways away. But the researchers also put Philly’s risk of flooding over four feet at 33 percent by 2030. That number jumps to 87 percent between today and 2050.
If the city was to experience flooding, at least 1,700 homes, 3,200 people, and three power plants would be at risk since they sit below four feet.
All of this is based on the intermediate high sea level scenario and historical patterns of flooding in the Philadelphia metro region dating back to 1900.
This scary chart puts the city’s risk into perspective:
One of the most at-risk zip codes is 19513, which is where the Philadelphia International Airport is located. The airport accounts for nearly half of the $520 million in property values at risk of 4-foot flooding in the city. "The Philadelphia International Airport appears to be protected at water levels up to 4 feet above the local high tide line, but not at higher levels," the researchers write.
Here’s another shocking visual of the properties at risk of 4-foot flooding, then at risk of 9-foot flooding. Yellow signifies properties that are $100K-$999K per acre and orange represents $1M-$100M.
The city published its own climate report in 2015, stating that the future forecast for Philadelphia could be described as "warmer and wetter." The report does highlight some initiatives currently underway to combat sea level rises, but perhaps the biggest silver lining is that Philadelphia is the first city in the country to put together a natural disaster protection plan—for its historic properties, at least.
- Philly to protect historic properties from natural disasters [Curbed Philly]