Tampa Bay Isn't Prepared for the Hurricanes of the Future

The area is especially vulnerable to storm surge, and increased development means more people are at risk when major hurricanes push through.

1 minute read

September 26, 2019, 2:00 PM PDT

By Camille Fink

Tampa Bay Storm

Jason Caunter / Shutterstock

"Tampa Bay is long and grows narrower and shallower as you move farther away from the Gulf of Mexico and toward the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida. When a hurricane comes through Tampa Bay, its winds can push a wall of water, known as storm surge, into this ever-tightening container. So when a storm comes through, the bay rises," writes Brian Resnick.

Tampa Bay’s geography, together with growing population and its location in a hurricane-prone area, makes cities in the region more vulnerable to climate change and the more destructive hurricanes that are likely in the future.

While the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council drafted a catastrophic plan called Project Phoenix a decade ago, Resnick says local governments have not pursued policies to prepare the region for sea-level rise and flooding threats. "Namely, development continues at a huge pace and few buildings are hurricane proof."

Experts suggest more stringent building standards, denser development further inland, and improved evacuation plans. "The more the Tampa Bay area grows, the more people will be at risk for storms and sea-level rise. Again: We know that more storms are coming. They’ve come before. And they’ll keep coming, whether we’re here or not," notes Resnick.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 in Vox

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Google office building in Virginia.

Virginia Data Centers Draining State’s Water Supply

Being the world’s largest data center hub is having a severe impact on local water resources.

May 9, 2024 - Grist

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state.

Northwest Power Demand Could Surge as Data Centers, Transportation Electrification Ramps Up

New estimates project a steady increase in electricity demand due to population growth, data centers, and the shift to electric power in homes, buildings, and transportation.

May 17 - Governing

Blurred traffic speeding by on freeway with Los Angeles skyline in background.

California Testing Per-Mile Gas Tax Alternatives

A summer pilot program will test the fairness and efficacy of collection mechanisms for mileage-based fee options.

May 17 - Newsweek

Close-up of 'Pay rent' note in red marker on day 1 of monthly calendar.

After Months of Decreases, Rents Nationwide Are Going Up

Average rents rose by $12 around the country so far this year.

May 17 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.