As we update our Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, and work towards protecting Dennis from the disasterous impacts a full-blown hurricane can have on the town, the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina provides us with significant data as to why we need to prepare.
The Census Bureau posted the following graphic showing demographic trends for Metro New Orleans:
In Metropolitan New Orleans, ten years later, the population, housing and number of business have not yet recovered to pre-Katrina levels. The area has also recovered barely half the jobs that were lost due to Katrina.
Imagine what ten years of economic stagnation would mean in Dennis. The impacts of Katrina are severe, it was a Category 5 Hurricane, but it also hit an area that is supposed to be more prepared for hurricanes than the Cape Cod coastline.
New Jersey is three years out now from the impacts of Hurricane Sandy, there are still many struggling to recover from the impacts of that storm. In Dennis, we need to prepare in advance so it will not take 3 or 10 years for our area to recover from such a storm. To date we have:
- Modified zoning to encourage home elevation by measuring building height from Base Flood Elevation;
- Actively pursued all available funding sources to assist with home elevation costs;
- Continued channel dredging and using the dredge spoils for beach renourishment and dune restoration;
- Expanded the region’s capability to shelter residents during storm events; and
- Improved the town’s ability to rapidly respond to storms.
We continue to work on additional features for storm preparedness including:
- Trying to remove/reduce the red tape involved with elevating structures;
- Exploring ways to better protect our coast line against storm surge;
- Working with conservation interests to protect areas subject to flooding from inappropriate development and improving the town’s flood storage capabilities through open space purchases; and
- Continuing numerous forms of outreach to educate the public on the risks associated with storms and flooding.