Slate’s 5/29/18 article The Maryland Flooding is a Warning argues that heavy rain, rather than rising seas, is the earliest severe consequence of climate change, and that we’ve been preparing for it in the worst possible way.
Very heavy rain events rose (per a National Climate Assessment study) between 1958 and 2012 by 37% in the Midwest and 71%! in the Northeast, and the most extreme downpours are getting even more extreme.
Unchecked sprawl has replaced absorbent natural areas with the equivalent of concrete funnels, but FEMA still bases flood maps only on elevations and channels, ignoring the impact of a built environment which contribute as much to urban flooding as natural topography. So, not only are people moving into flood plain areas, but flood plains are moving into people as well!
That’s something we should keep in mind when we consider building yet more giant homes in our own North Shore swamp. And let’s not screw around with those trees which have been protecting us all along!