Hurricanes increase future flood risk in Puerto Rico and Florida, 1

Brochure with text and an aerial view looking down on a coast with columns depicting data values along the coast.

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Report Summary

Hurricane Damage to Coral Reefs in 2017 Increases Future Flood Risk in Puerto Rico and Florida

The damage to reef natural infrastructure from Hurricanes Irma and Maria puts U.S. people and property at significant risk of future flooding

Key Points

  • Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused significant damage to coral reefs across Puerto Rico and Florida with long term consequences to this first line of flood defense.
  • The consequences of this reef damage were assessed with high resolution hydrodynamic and economic models.
  • The hurricane damage to reefs increased future annual flood risk in Puerto Rico by $178 million.
  • Hurricane damage to Florida reefs was lower and annual flood risk increased by $3.4 million.

Hurricane Damage to Coral Reefs Increases Future Flood Risk. The blue polygons show the results of NOAA surveys of damages to reefs after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 around San Juan, Puerto Rico. The white bars indicate expected flood risk in the 100-year floodplain before the hurricanes and the colored bar tops indicate how much risk has increased because of damages to reefs per 50,000 m2 (hexagon max width = 277 m). 

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