Northeast
Roy Carpenter’s Beach in South Kingstown in 2012 after the destructive force of Superstorm Sandy. Beach erosion is only one of the problems Rhode Island grapples with when dealing with climate change. Photography by Michael Cevoli.

RI - Tool projects flood-damage risks to coastal homes

The state Coastal Resources Management Council and the University of Rhode Island have released a smartphone app that allows property owners to estimate the amount of flood damage to their homes and businesses caused by a major storm.

PROVIDENCE — Coastal property owners in Rhode Island have a new tool to help plan for the impacts of climate change.

The state Coastal Resources Management Council and the University of Rhode Island have released a smartphone app that allows property owners to estimate the amount of flood damage to their homes and businesses caused by a major storm.

The free StormTools app allows users to quantify how sea-level increases in coming decades could ramp up damage and in turn calculate the amount of protection that could be offered by raising structures above floodwaters.

Malcolm Spaulding, emeritus professor of ocean engineering at URI, who helped lead development of the app, says that when he applied for federal funding for the project he couldn’t find another state that had made anything like it.

“I did some extensive checking when we submitted the proposal to [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] for this effort and couldn’t find anything comparable,” he said, adding that he hasn’t come across any similar programs since then.

The app was created as part of the Rhode Island Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan, or Beach SAMP, a years-long effort led by the coastal council to educate public officials and residents about the growing threats from coastal storms and rising seas and ways they can start to adapt to the changes.

Read more.