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UNH Research: Flooding of Coastal Roads On the Rise

Jason Moon for NHPR

New research from UNH says nuisance flooding of roads on the East coast has increased by 90 percent over the last two decades.

Nuisance flooding occurs as a result of normal tidal activity. It's the kind of flooding that can happen on sunny day with calm weather.

The new report estimates that nuisance flooding is already causing over 100 million hours of delays for drivers each year. As oceans rise, the report says, so could that number.

UNH Professor and co-author of the report Jennifer Jacobs says that while New Hampshire’s roads aren’t nearly as vulnerable as some other states, the recent tidal flooding in Hampton offers a glimpse of what we can expect in the future.

“If we can look at those events, the ones that happened earlier this winter, and say well, what if those happened every month, or twice a month? What would we need to do as a community to handle that?”

The research appears in the Transportation Research Record.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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