Assessing Risks and Preparing the City of Holmes Beach for Natural Disasters

2022 - 2023
Holmes Beach, Florida
City of Holmes Beach, Florida

Coastal cities must protect themselves from natural disasters, especially as the frequency and severity of these events continue to rise. Now sea levels are inching higher and higher. The City of Holmes Beach (COHB), a coastal city in Florida, and RESPEC are proactively preparing for whatever Mother Nature throws its way.  

RESPEC performed a risk assessment to identify COHB’s vulnerability to flooding from storm surges, high precipitation, and rising sea levels. Preparing for the impact of rising sea levels is equal parts science and art, developing solutions to events that haven’t occurred. Using LiDAR to gather information about the city’s infrastructure and flood zones and adding estimated projections, we created models offering COHB a baseline map to show where flooding will occur under various conditions. From there, we can help the City focus on protecting critical infrastructure and resources, such as evacuation routes, emergency centers, and wastewater treatment plants.  

Developing preliminary designs to create more resilient infrastructure for the future means improved public safety, protected critical infrastructure and resources, and enhanced fortitude against future natural disasters. Cities will be better prepared to withstand the impacts of rising sea levels, storm surges, and other natural disasters, reducing the risk of damage and loss of life.