Commentary

The new normal? Editorial asks the right question in hurricane’s aftermath

The city of Fayetteville has taken it on the chin in recent days from Hurricane Matthew and in the aftermath, an editorial in the Fayetteville Observer (“Is this what we’ll get from climate change?”) is asking a vitally important question that state political leaders have been ignoring for far too long:

“Is this the new normal for Fayetteville and for eastern North Carolina? It’s a question that should be on everyone’s mind as we mop up from our second bout of major flooding in just over a week.

And it should be on state leaders’ minds as well, as most of the counties east of I-95 prepare for flooding expected to be equal to or worse than the devastating floods caused by Hurricane Floyd 17 years ago. When Floyd put much of eastern North Carolina under water then, the experts called it the flood of the millennium – an extraordinary and epic drowning of the land.

But less than two decades later, here it is again. And we know ocean levels are steadily rising as well, which further complicates the problem in our easternmost counties.

It raises crucial questions about what measures need to be taken to protect life and property….

Even I-95 itself was flooded and impassable in places during and after the storm. What additional protection do we need for the East Coast’s most important north-south highway? Before these storms, reconstruction projects had raised the roadbed of the eastern sections of U.S. 64. Was it enough? Do many other roads need the same attention?…

However we choose to explain climate change, it’s here and altering our lives. We need some thoughtful discussion, informed by serious science, about how to proceed.”

Click here to read the entire editorial.

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