Expect More Flooding as Climate Change Worsens

Gavin Wieland and Nina King

 

Hurricane Ian recently swept through the southeast leaving catastrophic destruction in its wake. This is just the latest reminder of how climate change is causing significant impacts on our planet—severe flooding being one of the most devastating. The connection between climate change and severe flooding is well established by the scientific community and has become a global, national, and local issue.

Learning about the ways in which we can control flooding is essential for our future. This crisis has been an ongoing concern for several years and people have become fed up with damages caused to property and the economy. Less attention however, has been given to the effect of flooding on water quality. To find out more, Landmark College student Gavin Wieland interviewed an employee at Freshwater Future named Ann Baughman of Petoskey, Michigan,. During the interview, Baughman remarked, “Raw sewage goes into the Detroit River and it is not treated”. “In this instance, some of this was backing up into people’s homes,” Baughman observed.  This means that sewage run-off is a major effect of flooding in the Detroit area.

Meanwhile, flooding has also become a major concern in the northeast United States. According to Chris Larabee, in a recent article,   “There’s a 71% increase in precipitation in the northeastern United States since 1958”. Landmark College, being in the southern part of Vermont has felt the impacts of increased precipitation, including severe flooding. Below, is some information about it.

The college has experienced several flooding situations. For instance, Stone Hall and The Lewis Academic Building formerly known as the East Academic Building in 2021. In a recent interview, Resident Dean of Chumley/Bridges Hall and basketball coach at Landmark College, John Wood mentioned that some faculty lost books, papers, and possibly even someone’s furniture. It was the next to last night of the Summer High School program so the student impact was minimal. The college has taken flood mitigation steps but the drainage behind Stone Hall may need an enormous overhaul in the future (but that is not my field of expertise)”.

John Wood also talked about the flooding that has occurred over the years at the college. For example, Wood explained, “There have been several floods since my first year in 1992 during significant storm events. Wood says that there have been “less than ten but more than five severe flooding events”. “The most significant was Hurricane Irene when we lost all three roads to campus, sandbagged around alumni and it resulted in the Jersey barriers being put up hillside,” Wood recalled.

Wood mentioned; “Over the years the most repetitive have occurred at Stone Hall where the basement classrooms and offices and first floor rooms have been impacted”. This means that flooding at Landmark College will be more common occurrence with more rainfall. As flooding becomes more common, people are beginning to turn their attention to flooding issues and how to prevent future events from happening. Our future’s going to be wetter due to climate change if we don’t make a change soon.