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Study: Maryland Vulnerable To Higher, Frequent Flooding

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ)--A new study brings a familiar warning, this time it's from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Alex DeMetrick reports, the Corps is urging Maryland to start preparing now, for higher and more frequent flooding.

Following Superstorm Sandy, the Army Corps of Engineers was ordered to study coastal flood risks. The released findings show the areas most threatened in red including half of Maryland.

The reason...

"They have high flood risk now and in the foreseeable future based on the population density and the infrastructure that's here," said Amy Guise, Army Corps of Engineers.

Maryland sits low to water that is steadily rising, as oceans warm and expand. That means storm surges will push further inland not only in Ocean City, but into communities all around the Chesapeake Bay.

Before the end of this century, the Corps believes some will have to move further inland.

"Yes, we call that strategic retreat. Strategic retreat is certainly one of the land uses," said Guise.

Other Corps strategies are geared to protecting existing infrastructure as waters rise using hard structures like sea walls and levees, as well as strengthening barrier islands and marshlands as buffers against storm surges.

It's also calling for greater monitoring of low areas like Baltimore's Inner Harbor to aid planning and reduce the risk of lost lives during more frequent floods.

The Army Corps study strongly recommends preparing for flooding sooner rather than later.

"It's now. We need to be aware of our evacuation planning. We need to heed our warnings now," said Guise.

Because the Corp's findings are only the most recent in a series of studies, warning of a wetter Maryland.

The Army Corps study is designed to provide a framework for coastal communities, to begin making the changes needed to deal with increased flooding in the future.

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