NC - Research Finds Flooding Damage to Levees is Cumulative – and Often Invisible
Recent research finds that repeated flooding events have a cumulative effect on the structural integrity of earthen levees, suggesting that the increase in extreme weather events associated with climate change could pose significant challenges for the nation’s aging levee system.
“Traditionally, levee safety inspections are based on visible signs of distress on the surface,” says Rowshon Jadid, a Ph.D. candidate at North Carolina State University and first author of a paper describing the research. “What we’ve found is that as a levee goes through repeated flood events, it gets weaker – but the damage may be invisible to the naked eye.”
“This is particularly relevant now, since we’re seeing severe flooding more often,” says Brina Montoya, co-author of the paper and an associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State.
The study draws on data from the Princeville levee in North Carolina, as well as flooding associated with hurricanes Floyd and Matthew.