Guardian: Americans: the next climate migrants

By the end of this century, sea level rises alone could displace 13m people. Many states will have to grapple with hordes of residents seeking dry ground. But, as one expert says, ‘No state is unaffected by this’


‘We’re moving to higher ground’: America’s era of climate mass migration is here

After her house flooded for the third year in a row, Elizabeth Boineau was ready to flee. She packed her possessions into dozens of boxes, tried not to think of the mold and mildew-covered furniture and retreated to a second-floor condo that should be beyond the reach of pounding rains and swelling seas.

Boineau is leaving behind a handsome, early 20th-century house in Charleston, South Carolina, the shutters painted in the city’s eponymous shade of deep green. Last year, after Hurricane Irma introduced 8in of water into a home Boineau was still patching up from the last flood, local authorities agreed this historic slice of Charleston could be torn down.

“I was sloshing through the water with my puppy dog, debris was everywhere,” she said. “I feel completely sunken. It would cost me around $500,000 to raise the house, demolish the first floor. I’m going to rent a place instead, on higher ground.”

Millions of Americans will confront similarly hard choices as climate change conjures up brutal storms, flooding rains, receding coastlines and punishing heat. Many are already opting to shift to less perilous areas of the same city, or to havens in other states. Whole towns from Alaska to Louisiana are looking to relocate, in their entirety, to safer ground.

Read more at UK Guardian


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  1. MOA, We flood even without hurricanes. I’ve been through two floods where there wasn’t a hurricane anywhere near. There are roadways that routinely flood during flood tide, and become unusable. What do the locals do? Drive high-water 4WD trucks from their elevated homes with their own boats (and I mean 60ft. shrimp boats) in the back yard. It’s no big deal to a coon-ass (cajun) who’s ancestors had to take Piroques (flat bottom small boat) everywhere because there were no roads in a swamp!

  2. As a survivor of Katrina (I didn’t leave, I stayed and helped!). I have a more direct connection with the above named “problem”. I always tell neighbors when the high water conversation comes up “If you are going to build here, build something that floats!” People down here have been coping with high water for generations. They are already adapted. It’s the suburbians who have a hard time coping. The rest of us just take it in stride.

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