Can cities keep up with bad weather?
Flooding in the Chicago area is monitored and managed from this control room. The system was overwhelmed by storms last month.
May 20th, 2013
12:06 PM ET

Can cities keep up with bad weather?

By Nova Safo, CNN

Follow on Twitter: nova_safo

(CNN) - By the end of the century, cities on the east coast of the U.S. could experience flooding at Hurricane Sandy levels every couple of years. That’s according to a report in the latest issue of Scientific American.

The study sites updated forecast models which predict climate change will lead to higher sea levels than previously thought.

But climate change is not just a concern for coastal cities. Today, the state of Indiana will just begin assessing flood damage to its public infrastructure. The damage was caused by record rain storms last month. Those same storms also brought flood waters to Chicago.

Those are  just the latest prime examples of the new challenge many cities are facing: an increasing frequency of heavy storms, which cities are not currently designed to deal with.

To see what Chicago is doing, and how the rest of the country might be affected, we visited the control center where flood waters are managed.

What we learned from David St. Pierre, the executive director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, is that climate change has arrived:

[1:00] “We are seeing these extreme rain events that we have never seen before in Chicago. After you get one 100-year rain event, everybody said, 'Well, we won’t see that in another 100 years.' And then two years later, we had another event. And this year, we had yet another. So we are seeing climate change and it is real.”

To find out more about what scientists are predicting will be the new reality for American cities over the next 20 to 30 years, and to find out what states are doing, please listen to our story in the above player.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

Posted by
Filed under: Environment • Nature • Soundwaves • Stories
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. mememine69

    It's been 28 years of this costly debate and if we don't end it soon our future is uncertain so if we really want to end this debate once and for all so we can get on with CO2 mitigation then we should demand that the world of science says their climate crisis is as real as they can and do say asteroid hits are. Climate crisis is a comet hit of an emergency and the ultimate warning for the ultimate crisis from the world of science would shut the deniers up once and for all.
    Who is with me or do we just watch the world burn before our very eyes?

    May 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveD5145

      I don't live on the beach. Why do I care? No matter what we do China and India will burn more and more. Can you please estimate the cost of this 'climate mitigation'?How much are you willing to pay now, to keep Fla. above water in 100 years? $100, $1000? How about >$100,000? Let people on the coast and their insurance companies deal with it.

      May 29, 2013 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
      • paul

        are you kidding me, you think that since you don't live on the coast it wont affect you? that is such a simple way of looking at it. I mean not only are most of our population along the coast of America, our ports, major cities, economic centers, political centers. this will affect the whole world no matter where you are. If you use American currency than you It will have an affect on you.

        not to mention the fact that effects of global warming aren't only rising sea levels, it can get to the point where it destroys ecosystems, melts glaciers, cause more frequent storms. you don't have to do much research to see how serious climate change is

        May 30, 2013 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |