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Impact of Sea-Level Rise (SLR) on Coastal Homes

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

Sea-level rise (SLR) implications for coastal regions continuously pose as a threat to the real estate industry. These may refer to disruption in the daily life of not just the people living along the coast but also of the whole coastal and marine ecosystems, animal extinction, shore erosion, wetland flooding, and from a financial perspective, possible huge losses. Developers stand to lose profits and property owners who are leasing their homes face the risk of having to pay for costly repairs and higher mortgage fees.

Image source: NOAA

 Causes of sea-level rise

An article from the journal Science reveals the two main causes of sea-level rise: increase in ocean thermal expansion and melting of glaciers and small ice caps in the recent decades, most notably during the 1990s. Increased heat brought about by climate change has caused ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica.

Extent of sea-level rise

According to NOAA’s Arctic Report Card, the Arctic is experiencing a rise in temperature at two times the rate of the world and in 2017, scientists have observed a new record low for the maximum sea ice extent. The figure has so far been the largest magnitude decline in sea ice in 1,500 years.

You can use the NOOA Office for Coastal Management’s web mapping tool if you want to visualize the effects at community-level from coastal flooding or SLR, which may reach up to six feet above average high tides.

Impact on US Coastal Homes

A recent study reveals that more than 300,000 coastal homes face the risk of flooding every two weeks within the next 30 years. The Union of Concerned Scientists warns that if left unresolved, these properties will become inhabitable by 2045.

And for the real estate industry, this would mean possible collapse of the mortgage value when investors begin to be wary of properties in these areas. Freddie Mac’s chief economist explained the possibility of properties becoming uninsurable and unmarketable and insurers eventually incurring losses if property owners decide to default on their mortgages, especially if their homes are already underwater. Thus, the importance of having a comprehensive insurance plan that will both protect your needs and those of your insurer as well should any of these possibilities happen.

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When Lightning Strikes along the Coast

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

Living along the Gulf Coast usually means more exposure to thunderstorms and definitely right after, lightning strikes. Thunderstorms most often form in mid-latitude areas where warm air exists underneath much cooler air. Fronts are the boundaries that separate these two large air masses when they meet. Lightning bolts may last for just about one of 10,000th of a second, but the electricity they can generate could light a 100-watt bulb for three months.

There are risks associated to lightning strikes, and being constantly exposed to such may be too much to handle for some. The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns of the danger posed by ground currents, which happen when a lightning strikes, accounting for possibly more than half of all lightning injuries and deaths.

Image source: Accuweather

Fortunately, as long as you keep in mind these tips, you can deal with this natural threat effectively and continue to enjoy what coastal living promises:

  • Close all windows and doors and stay in the middle of the house.
  • Stay away from anything connected by wires such as a corded phone and switch off all electrical appliances.
  • Refrain from getting near water and objects that conduct electricity, mostly those that are made from metal.
  • Do not take a shower and get away from sinks or any similar objects. Lightning can even strike through pipes.
  • Should a lightning strike happens while you are outside, especially if you are in an open field, steer away from trees or poles or any large object and curl into a ball in a standing position.
  • A vehicle may prove to be a safer option for you but remember to close all windows and not to touch the car’s walls as its body is mostly made up of metal. Stay inside for 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.
  • Be aware of the level of risk you are facing. If you hear thunder in the distance, start heading inside.

Whether you are living in the city or near the sea, natural threats may always pose a risk. Being well-informed and knowing how to protect yourself and your family will allow you greater freedom and less chances to worry.