Lessons Learned From Tropical Storm Irene: Obstacles to Change

Over 8 months removed from Tropical Storm Irene and Vermont, officials have been discussing options in the wake of the destruction wrought by the storm. Gone are the days of forced river relocation, with ever deepening dredging efforts and the armoring of banks. Those efforts only increased the potential cost in property damage and loss of human life. The biggest result of such efforts to control the forces of nature was the costliest storm in Vermont history.

According to a report by www.burlingtonfreepress.com, the biggest challenge in the wake of the storm is convincing local officials that the outdated policies need to be changed. These efforts need the support of those on the front lines of flood control, including government and businesses.

Going forward, development protocols need to take into consideration the full affects of building in flood-prone areas and the controlling and directing of rivers. During Tropical Storm Irene, many rivers redirected themselves, oftentimes destroying roads, bridges, homes, and businesses in the process. In order to avoid such destruction in the future, the current methods of flood control need reevaluation.

According to some disaster experts, FEMA needs to work in conjunction with state disaster agencies to provide incentives to businesses, home owners, and land developers to build in less flood-prone areas.

One of the biggest failings of the “old way” of doing things was the development of flood plains, which allow rivers and waterways an area to expand to when excess water is present. The results of such development were more than evident when Irene hit Vermont and the East Coast last fall.

For more information about lessons learned from Tropical Storm Irene, visit: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/interactive/article/20120404/PROMO04/304040001/Entrenched-ideas-targeted-conference-consider-lessons-Irene