Local and State New Clips
July 15, 2015 - Yale Study Surveys Attitudes Toward Hurricanes in Connecticut, NBC Connecticut | Tyler Jankoski
Researchers at Yale University in New Haven conducted a survey on how coastal Connecticut residents react to tropical storm systems, and the results are raising some eyebrows.
The investigators received responses from more than 1,000 Connecticut residents, 996 of whom experienced a hurricane or tropical storm within the past five years. Only those who experienced a storm in the past five years were included in the results.
Based on responses to the survey, Connecticut residents were broken up into five distinct groups in terms of response to a hurricane or tropical storm: first out, constrained, optimists, reluctant and diehards.
First Out: The "first out" group sees a great risk from hurricanes and would evacuate if one is forecast. A call from officials to evacuate isn't necessary for this group to leave town. Interestingly enough, only about half of this sensitive group evacuated in Hurricane Sandy.
Constrained: Constrained residents also understand the risks associated with a tropical system, but have barriers to evacuation. Potential barriers include pets, personal disability or even lack of money. This was the smallest group, coming in with 14 percent of those included.
Optimists: Similar to the constrained, optimists are not well prepared to evacuate and perceive barriers to evacuation. Connecticut doesn't often deal with land-falling hurricanes, and optimists have very low expectations that one will hit in the next 50 years.
Reluctant: Reluctant people would need an official evacuation order to leave. Additionally, these people tended to live farther away from the coastline. Of those included in the results, the reluctant group was largest, at 27 percent.
Diehards: The most resilient group of people was called diehards. These residents are least likely to evacuate and have the lowest risk perception. Diehards feel they can better protect lives and property by staying home even when the storm and its associated storm surge arrive.
Before a storm, there are numerous ways to promote evacuating. They include the governor's office, local government, local police/fire and local media, including television and radio.
By far the most effective way to get people to evacuate is by notification from local police and fire departments. For all five groups of residents, the percentage chance they "definitely/probably would" evacuate was highest when word came from local police and fire officials.
The percentages for "definitely/probably would" evacuate were lowest for every single group if the evacuation notice were to come from television or radio sources.
Not to be understated is the need for continuing education and outreach long before a storm hits.
In the write-in section on the survey, one resident in the diehard group said, "lived here 28 years; been through a lot of storms."
The conclusion was that given the various views and attitudes towards hurricanes among the population, messages need to be tailored for different groups, clear communication of the different hazards is needed and resources for evacuation are critical
July 15, 2015 - Climate Change Threatens Connecticut's Vital Shoreline Rail, CT Mirror | Jan Ellen Spiegel
As the state invests in a multi-billion-dollar plan to upgrade the rail line, there are those who say the impact of climate change isn't being considered carefully enough. They worry the plan will entrench the line in locations vulnerable to storms and flooding. But others say it's too expensive to move the line, and there are other ways to mitigate the impact.
July 13, 2015 - Malloy: State Needs To Be Leader On Climate Change, Hartford Courant | Gregory B. Hladky
HARTFORD - What a little state like Connecticut does about global warming has "relatively little to do with what happens in the rest of the world," Gov. Dannel Malloy acknowledged Friday to members of his new Climate Change Council.
"Except that someone has to lead," Malloy quickly added, arguing that Connecticut can show the rest of the world "what can be done" to dramatically reduce the manmade pollution he said is clearly having an impact on climate.
"We can demonstrate here in Connecticut ... that small entities and large entities can have an impact on the environment," Malloy said. "Ultimately, we have to find a cleaner way to do things."
Robert Klee, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, used the council's first meeting to warn that the panel is facing "a very big challenge" in planning how to meet the state's major anti-pollution goals and preparing Connecticut for the unstoppable impacts of climate change.
Malloy created the new council by executive order on Earth Day 2015, in an effort to push forward with efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and deal with rising sea levels, violent weather and other consequences of global warming. It includes top-level state officials and representatives from environmental groups.
Malloy, Klee and other council members offered lots of examples of how well Connecticut has done on climate change issues in the past decade, including cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10 percent since 2004.
In 2012, according to the most recent statewide emissions inventory, Connecticut pumped 39.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases into the air.
"We've just begun the hard work," said Klee, pointing to the state's official target of slashing those gas emissions to 9 million metric tons over the next 35 years.
One of the toughest parts of the new council's job will be to set interim targets that will determine how quickly Connecticut should move in an anti-pollution effort that is bound to have a major impact on the state's economy.
Another critical area for the council is preparing the state, cities, towns and residents for the inevitable changes that global warming is expected to bring. Those include a continued increase in sea levels along Long Island Sound and more frequent and stronger weather events, like hurricanes.
Katie Wade, state insurance commissioner, noted that there are $570 billion worth of insured properties along Connecticut's shoreline. She said that in 2011, between Hurricane Irene and a late October snowstorm, Connecticut insurance claims for storm-related damage approached $1 billion.
Connecticut's new two-year state budget includes $20 million in bonding to help cover the costs of preparing state and local infrastructure to withstand changes in climate.
Some shoreline communities are already seeing increases in local flooding that experts say is due to the rising water levels in the Sound, and utilities with coastal plants are already working to safeguard their facilities from sea level increases.
"Where are our assets, and how can we protect them?" was the way Scott Jackson, a former mayor of Hamden and now a top official in Malloy's Office of Policy and Management, described the task ahead.
July 10, 2015 - Jersey shore town won't rebuild its storm-wrecked sand dunes, The Day - New London | Wayne Parry
Manasquan, N.J. - Another Jersey shore town that was pummeled by Superstorm Sandy has decided it doesn't want protective sand dunes.
Manasquan's dunes were washed away in the October 2012 storm. And despite assertions by many coastal experts that the dunes prevented the damage from being even worse, borough officials have decided not to rebuild them.
They say rebuilt dunes wouldn't give that much more protection, and that a recently widened beach will add some security. And some residents say they like being able to see the ocean from their homes again - despite warnings from some experts that they are playing with fire.
"This is a monumental decision the town has made," Mayor George Dempsey said. "We'll have to wait and see if we made the right one."
The Monmouth County town of 6,300 has long been popular with vacationing families and year-round residents drawn to its mile-long beach and asphalt-paved beach walk. For years, that walkway, and the houses next to it, were protected by 5- or 6-foot sand dunes. Even before Sandy hit, some residents grumbled that they couldn't see the ocean from their front porches. And that was after a 1992 nor'easter picked up the beach walk and smashed it into thousands of pieces.
"You spend a lot of money to rent a place, and it's so nice to see the ocean from your home," said Patricia Clayton of East Windsor, whose family has rented a beachfront home in Manasquan for 35 years. "We were so disappointed when they put in dunes. You couldn't see anything. It blocks the view of the beach and the ocean."
Stewart Farrell, director of the Coastal Research Center at Stockton University, said Manasquan is taking a tremendous gamble by forsaking dunes.
"Sandy beat them badly and subsequent storms will do even more if they reject replacing the meager dunes they had pre-Sandy," he said. "That is just the way it is: Love the view now, lose the house later."
Some residents said the dunes made things worse, that water-driven sand was propelled into their homes. Althea and John Ridley, who lost a beachfront home, blame the dunes as much as the storm.
"The amount of sand that came pouring into the houses was responsible for a good portion of the damage," she said. "We had 4 feet of sand in our garage."
Manasquan officials had been agonizing since then over whether to rebuild the dunes; the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved the town for $2.8 million to $3.2 million to rebuild the dunes according to federal standards - payable upon completion of the project - with the town responsible for 10 percent of the cost.
Dempsey said the dunes would provide only 3.5 or 4 feet of protection - not enough to warrant the cost. A study by the town said there would be no difference in Manasquan's flood insurance rates with or without dunes, and that they would do nothing to prevent inland river flooding, also a major problem during Sandy.
At a town hall forum on the dunes, the overwhelming public sentiment was not to rebuild them. The borough council ratified that decision on Monday.
Manasquan is one of several Jersey shore towns that don't want dunes, despite Gov. Chris Christie's stated intention to erect them along the entire 127-mile coastline. The privately owned Jenkinson's beach in Point Pleasant Beach, Manasquan's neighbor to the south, is suing federal, state and local governments to prevent dunes. Bay Head has hundreds of holdouts who refuse to sign easements to permit dunes, and Margate has thus far wrestled the state to a draw in court over plans to build dunes there. Pockets of resistance remain on Long Beach island as well.
John Ridley said he and his wife, who currently rent a beachfront house, are trying to decide whether to buy another one in Manasquan despite their experience during Sandy.
"We had a great view of the ocean," he said. Looking out from the front porch of his rental to the beach and the waves, he said, "How can you not love this?"
National News Clips
July 17, 2015 - Science Confirms 2014 Was Hottest Yet Recorded, On Land And Sea, NPR | Christopher Joyce
For the past quarter-century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been
gathering data from more than 400 scientists around the world on climate trends. The report on
2014 from these international researchers? On average, it was the hottest year ever - in the
ocean, as well as on land.
Deke Arndt is a climate scientist with the agency and an author of the State of the Climate in 2014 report, released Thursday. It's the lower atmosphere that's warming, not the upper atmosphere, he points out - just as the total of greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere continues to increase. That's not a coincidence.
"The changes that we see in the lower part of the atmosphere are driven by a change in the composition of the atmosphere," Arndt says. "If an external forcing - such as the sun or some orbital phenomenon - would be driving the warming, we would see a warming across the board in most of the atmosphere. And we don't."
This year's hottest-ever record is the third time that's happened in the past 15 years.
July 16, 2015 - Boston among cities most likely to feel climate change impact: study, Metro
Brace yourselves, Boston. Climate change is coming. As a dense coastal city that knows the
power of Mother Nature when it comes to ungodly piles of snow, the gradual warming and
moistening of the planet is slated to hit the Hub especially hard. That's according to a study
produced by the Weather Channel, which lists Boston sixth among a list of cities most likely to
feel the impacts of climate change.
"More extreme precipitation events," the study reads - like, for example, the record-breaking snowfall we experienced, "are expected across Massachusetts and up and down the eastern seaboard - the same areas potentially in trouble from rising sea levels and future storms."
Authors of the weather media giant's study used six metrics in making their rankings, among them how catastrophic rising sea levels could be and how vulnerable an area is to "urban heat islands," or cities that are hotter than rural areas.
Climate scientists Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University, Michael Mann of Penn State's Earth System Science Center and David Easterling of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information contributed to the rankings. Ranking above Boston on the list are Kansas City, New York, Las Vegas and Minneapolis.
July 14, 2015 - Deadly floods are record heat: Scientists say climate change made these recent extreme weather events worse, Salon | Lindsay Abrams
It's not just that climate will make heat waves worse and rainfall more intense. It's that it already
has - as two new studies show, human activity is altering the world we live in, to often
To see what's going on, you have only to look at this summer, where for the third time this
century Europe found itself slammed by a massive heatwave rivaling those experienced in 2003
and 2006. Before it finally broke, Madrid had set a new July heat record at 103.8 degrees
Fahrenheit, Germany had beat its all time heat record with a reading of 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit
and a 98.1 degrees Fahrenheit temperature recorded at London's Heathrow airport was the
highest ever recorded in the U.K. in July. It was a bad year to compete in the Tour de France, and
researchers have already figured out that global warming doubled its odds of happening.
A team of international researchers carried out the study in partnership with Climate Central. They looked at cities across the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Paris and Switzerland and, using two independent, peer-reviewed methods, found it is "virtually certain" that the heatwaves they experienced were more likely to occur now than before climate change started happening - four times as likely, in the most extreme cases.
July 13, 2015 - Native American Communities Get Government Boost Towards Climate Resilience, Think Progress
Native American communities throughout the U.S. are getting a boost to their climate resilience
efforts thanks to a series of actions announced by the White House Thursday. The initiatives
focus on increasing climate resilience in communities that are most vulnerable to climate-related
Under one of the new White House initiatives, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs will provide $11.8 million in grants to help tribal communities promote climate resilience through training and technological development to prepare for the future impacts of climate change.
"We know that the risks of climate change aren't equally shared. We know that some communities, in terms of infrastructure and readiness, have been neglected longer than others," said Director of White House Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan during a climate resilience event at the Center for American Progress on Thursday. "Climate change exacerbates these existing health and socioeconomic inequities, placing children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of color at particular risk."
July 10, 2015 - Sea Levels Could Rise At Least 20 Feet, Climate Central | Brian Kahn
Even if world manages to limit global warming to 2°C - the target number for current climate
negotiations - sea levels may still rise at least 6 meters (20 feet) above their current heights,
radically reshaping the world's coastline and affecting millions in the process. That finding
comes from a new paper published on Thursday in Science that shows how high sea levels rose
the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high.
That was about 3 million years ago, when the globe was about 3-5°F warmer on average, the
Arctic 14.4°F warmer, megasharks swam the oceans, and sea levels stood at least 20 feet above
their current heights. The megasharks aren't coming back but those sea levels could be no matter
what happens in December's climate summit in Paris.
"Even if we meet that 2°C target, in the past with those types of temperatures, we may be committing ourselves to this level of sea level rise in the long term," Andrea Dutton, a geochemist at the University of Florida and one of the study's co-authors, said. "The decisions we make now about where we want to be in 2100 commit us on a pathway where we can't go back. Once these ice sheets start to melt, the changes become irreversible."
July 20, 2015 - U.S. Council on Environmental Quality releases progress report on climate preparedness, White House
The U.S. Council on Environmental Quality released a progress report of federal agencies' actions to implement the recommendations of the U.S. State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness. The U.S. Obama Administration also announced new climate adaptation actions. Among the administration's new commitments is an $11.8 million allocation for the Tribal Climate Resilience Program, which is designed to help tribes cope with the effects of climate change on their land.
July 20, 2015 - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers compares adaptation plans, USACE
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a report designed to compare the 38 federal Adaptation Plans submitted to the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in 2014. The comparison intends to provide USACE staff with information about other agency climate preparedness and resilience actions to facilitate partnering and information sharing, identify actions taken by agencies with aligned missions and operations, and support a gap analysis to guide future actions.
July 23, 2015 - UCONN Health Center Workshop - Hurricanes and Mold: the health concerns; reducing personal risk; and re-building homes with resiliency
Date: Thursday, July 23, 2015
Time: 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Location: Savin Rock Conference Center
6 Rock St., West Haven, CT 06516
Program includes refreshments. Free parking available.
The workshop is free of charge but space is limited. Please reserve with Cristina Mullin, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (860) 679-2008.
July 30, 2015 - Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience
sponsored by ASFPM and APA
Planning Information Exchange (PIE) Webinar
In cooperation with the American Planning Association (APA), the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) presents the second Planning Information Exchange (PIE) webinar. PIE is a free eight-part quarterly webinar series focusing on tools, best practices, and strategies on the role of hazard mitigation planning and its connections with recovery planning and preparedness.
The second part in the eight-part series involves discussions from George Homewood the Planning Director for the City of Norfolk, VA, and Kaye Matheny Principal and Co-Lead of HR&A Advisors' Resilience practice. Chad Berginnis, Executive Director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, will moderate as they discuss climate adaptation and resilience strategies, approaches, tools, and lessons learned. Norfolk is among the first communities in the United States already confronted with the impacts of sea level rise. Learn how Norfolk and other communities throughout the country are adapting to climate change.
1 CM and 1 CEC credit is available for AICPs & CFMs who participate in the entire webinar.
When: July 30, 2015
When: 1:00pm - 2:00 pm CT (begins 2pm ET, 12pm MT, 11am PT)
Click on the register button under the titled section 'Upcoming Webinars'
August 28, 2015 - FY15 FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grants Program Announced. Applications due 8/28/15
Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is announcing $180 million in funding available through two Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs: Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM). These two grant programs assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments in strengthening our nation's ability to reduce the potential cost of natural disasters to communities and their citizens.
FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs provide states, tribes, territories, and local governments funding for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation's ability to reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages.
The Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program provides funds on an annual basis so that measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The FY 2015 Flood Mitigation Assistance grants will continue to focus on reducing or eliminating claims under the NFIP with a focus on mitigation planning and the mitigation of severe repetitive loss properties.
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant program provides funds on an annual basis for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster. The goal of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant program is to reduce overall risk to the population and structures, while at the same time, also reducing reliance on Federal funding from actual disaster declarations. The FY 2015 Pre-Disaster Mitigation grants will continue to focus on implementing a sustained pre-disaster natural hazard mitigation program and provide the grant funding set aside as required in the Stafford Act to states and tribes to support overall mitigation planning and projects.
Both Hazard Mitigation Assistance FY 2015 Funding Opportunity Announcements can be found at
www.grants.gov, and PDF versions are attached to this advisory. Eligible applicants must apply for funding through the Mitigation eGrants system on the FEMA Grants Portal accessible at https://portal.fema.gov.
FEMA will open the application period on May 29, 2015. All applications must be submitted no later than 3:00 PM EDT on August 28, 2015. Further information on these grant programs is available at