Flood Images Are Worth 1,000 Words Or More



Social networking helps you remember what was on your mind years ago, which is one of its advantages.

Three years ago this week, the terrible flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland, sprang to mind.


Because I had acquaintances there and lived in a community that was similarly situated and prone to flooding, this event struck a chord with me.

The photos from Ellicott City reminded me of the destruction that Tropical Storm Floyd caused in Bound Brook, New Jersey, where the Raritan River crested at over 42 feet, flooding the downtown and igniting fires as electrical systems shorted out. Tropical Storm Floyd dropped over 13 inches of rain there and caused much more immediate damage.


While I watched on television as firefighters in boats responded to the destruction next door, I realized that my small town of Dunellen had narrowly avoided a serious catastrophe.


In comparison to the losses in Bound Brook and elsewhere, our basement’s temporary conversion to an indoor swimming pool seemed like a minor inconvenience.


Firefighters combat a fire in 1999 in flood-devastated Bound Brook, New Jersey.


A few years later, with Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, my area would witness comparable horrifying pictures.


We’ve written extensively about flood risk, the flood protection gap, and the need for a resilience mindset to minimize losses and damages and assist people in recovering from unforeseen disasters for their homes, workplaces, and communities.

However, sometimes a few strong visual cues can convince more persuasively and effectively than a thousand words ever could.