New Online Tools Available To Assess Flood Risks Along Shorelines

Dec 15, 2014

The University of Rhode Island, in partnership with the Coastal Resources Management Council, has developed new tools to plan for future climate change threats. New maps with projected storm surge and sea level rise are now available online.

These maps, called STORMTOOLS, resemble Google Earth. Anyone can enter an address and zoom in and out. Grover Fugate, CRMC executive director, said the maps allow people to see what roads and other manmade structures are vulnerable to 25-, 50-, and 100-year storms and sea level rise with 1, 2, 3, and 5 feet.  

"Many of the [storm and flood] events that cities and towns are going to look at—because the design life of those features [infrastructure] are much less than 100 years—it allows them to plan appropriately for those events,” said Fugate. “And that’s unique. We don’t see that anywhere else.”

These mapping tools, with high resolution images, went live last week. Malcolm Spaulding, URI professor emeritus, said he’s proud the maps include both sea level rise and storm surge.

“Most states do planning, and they do one or the another [storm surge or sea level rise], and I think we’re the first to come up with this system,” said Spaulding.

Spaulding said these tools allow decision makers to start planning now if they want to build schools or reservoirs, for example, that will last a long time.

URI will continue to do more sophisticated modeling to improve these storm and sea level rise projections.

To access the maps, visit and search for “scaled SLR."

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