The Effect That Chronic Flooding May Have on the DC Area by 2100

by Nena Perry-Brown

Earlier this year, UrbanTurf reported on predictive software that illustrated where and to what extent flooding could impact the District in the year 2100, assuming that sea levels rise by 8 feet. 

Now, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has released a report that estimates how many properties would be susceptible to "chronic" tidal flooding — and how much potential property value and revenue would be lost — over the years as sea levels continue to rise.

"Underwater: Rising Seas and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate" shows that up to 311,000 homes along the coasts, with an aggregate market value of $120 billion, are at risk of chronic flooding within the next 30 years. By 2100, as many as 2.4 million homes with an aggregate value of $912 billion could be at risk. In this context, "chronic flooding" is defined as occurring at least 26 times per year on average, regardless of whether major storms are happening.

The states most at risk by century's end are unsurprisingly Florida, New Jersey and New York; Maryland, meanwhile, also has a lot of coastal communities that would experience great property loss. However, in the immediate DC area, Alexandria, Virginia is the closest jurisdiction that could see quantifiable levels of property loss.

The Effect That Chronic Flooding May Have on the DC Area by 2100: Figure 1
Homes per state susceptible to chronic flooding in high-risk scenario. Click to enlarge.

The UCS report shows that in 2100, in a high-risk scenario, 283 homes in Alexandria (out of a current total of 41,616) will be susceptible to chronic flooding, leading to aggregate property value losses of $323 million. Meanwhile, only three homes in DC would experience chronic flooding (two in the 20024 zip code and one in the 20007 zip code); no figure was given for the estimated property value lost.

For the entire state of Maryland in 2100, there could be 68,183 homes susceptible to chronic flooding at a loss of $21 billion; in Virginia, the tally would be 114,940 homes at a loss of $30.8 billion.

The Effect That Chronic Flooding May Have on the DC Area by 2100: Figure 2
Alexandria zip codes where homes are susceptible to chronic flooding in high-risk scenario. Click to enlarge.

One needn't wait until 2100 to see these effects, however; if sea levels are rising apace with a high-risk scenario, 21 homes in Alexandria could be experiencing chronic flooding in 2030, causing property value losses of $14.5 million. In 2045, these numbers would rise to 40 homes and $32 million in lost value; in 2060, 70 homes and $55.3 million in lost value, and in 2080, 86 homes at risk with a value of $79.2 million.

"In contrast with previous housing market crashes, values of properties chronically inundated due to sea level rise are unlikely to recover and will only continue to go further underwater, literally and figuratively,” report co-author, economist and UCS policy director Rachel Cleetus stated.

The report, available in full here, uses a digital elevation model from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to determine the geographic areas that will experience chronic flooding; housing value estimates are gleaned from Zillow.

See other articles related to: sea levels, flooding, flood, climate change

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/where-chronic-flooding-may-occur-in-the-dc-area/14129

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »