Floodwaters may decimate Logan airport, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure in Massachusetts, a new study finds, but the risk is only rising

Floodwaters may decimate Logan airport, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure in Massachusett ...

In oceanside Hull, more than 80 percent of government buildings, schools, and houses of worship are at risk of such severe flooding that a major storm may render them inoperable or inaccessible. Nearly every commercial building in Adams, in the far northwestern corner of the state, is exposed to a similar fate. Lawrence, in the Merrimack Valley, is a town in Lawrence. , 75 percent of the city's police and fire stations, waste-water treatment facility, and other critical infrastructure could be shut down due to flooding.

According to a recent report by First Street Foundation, whose research group focuses on flood risk, Massachusetts' flooding threat from major storms and rising sea levels is already looming large, and those risks are rapidly increasing across the state.

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Overall, a study estimates that 162,798 residential properties, 12,918 miles of roads, 14,644 commercial properties and nearly 2,500 other critical buildings, such as hospitals, power stations, and government buildings are at risk of being flooded and inoperable in Massachusetts.

As climate change creates stronger storms and rising tides, an additional 27,714 residential properties, 1,181 miles of roads, 2,119 commercial properties and more than 450 critical buildings will face similar risks by 2051, according to the report.

Our nations infrastructure is not built to a standard that protects against the level of flood risk we face today, let alone how those risks will rise in the next 30 years as the climate changes, said Matthew Eby, executive director of the First Street Foundation.

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The report claims that residential property risk will rise by ten percent over the next 30 years, with 13,6 million people at risk of flooding in 2051, while the number of commercial properties at threat will increase by seven percent during the same period.

In addition, it estimates that more than a quarter of the nations critical infrastructure will be in flood risk by midcentury, compared to 6% today, with 2.2 million miles of road at risk.

In Louisiana, Florida, Kentucky, and West Virginia, the highest risk of flooding is highest. Given all of their low-lying areas and the frequency of violent storms, Louisiana alone accounts for six of the top 20 most at-risk counties.

The report uses different thresholds to categorize risk for different buildings and infrastructure. When the depth of the water exceeds 6 inches, it considers roads impassable. Police and fire stations become inaccessible or inoperable at 1 foot of flooding, while the same risks for power stations are quantified at 2 feet of flood and 3.5 feet for hospitals.

Suffolk County, Massachusetts, faces the greatest risks today and in the future, both in Massachusetts and overseas.

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According to the report, more than 45 percent of the county's critical infrastructure, including Logan International Airport, hospitals, police and fire stations, are at risk of flooding. By 2051, those risks are expected to rise 20 percent.

More than a third of roads in Suffolk are at risk of flooding, with those risks expected to rise 14 percent in 30 years, according to the report. It also finds that nearly a third of the countys commercial buildings and severance housing are at risk of flooding, rising by 22 percent and 8 percent, respectively, in 2051.

Several areas of Boston are facing possible devastation.

All critical infrastructure and nearly all commercial buildings are at risk of becoming inoperable as a result of flooding in the Seaport, for example, according to the report by mid-century. It also estimates that nearly 90 percent of roads in the waterfront neighborhood are at risk of becoming inoperable in one year.

Mariama White-Hammond, the citys environment chief, said, This report emphasizes the urgency of our efforts to ensure that everyone in Boston, especially the most vulnerable and those disproportionately affected by climate change, is better protected from these rising risks. Bostons people and infrastructure are in great danger of sea-level rise and major coastal storms across all 47 miles of the city s coastline, according to the Boston Globe.

The city is expecting at least 40 inches of sea-level rise by 2070, which is expected to affect residents who are low-income, elderly, and people of color, she added.

Without action, the flood risk will increase, White-Hammond said. The choices we make today to build a better Boston will fundamentally influence how we deal with climate change now and for generations to come, said Peterson.

The First Street Foundation released a similar report on flooding earlier this year, which predicted the nation will experience huge financial losses as if flooding occurs in 2051, with annual losses of more than $32 billion, compared with the estimated costs today.

According to a new study, Massachusetts is more likely to see property damage costs rise as climate change increases flooding.

According to the report, the foundation estimates that the financial losses from flooding will rise to $316 million in 30 years in Massachusetts, a 36 percent increase from today. The state is now ranked sixth in the nation in terms of the number of residential properties those with up to four units - likely to experience structural damage from flooding.

According to the previous study, those losses are predicted to exceed $62 million a year in 30 years in Boston, where more than 3,000 properties yearly will be at risk from flooding, compared to today's $75 million.

Amy Longsworth, the Boston Green Ribbon Commission's director, called the latest report extremely alarming.

People think infrastructure is boring, but try living without it, she said. The economic losses and health consequences would be catastrophic.

David Abel is available at david.abel@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @davabel.

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