WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — I will say at the outset of this story to please watch the video accompanying this piece. Words don't do it justice.
I am talking about a storm resilience study brought to virtual life by Florida Atlantic University scientists and visual tech gurus.
Their mission, alongside West Palm Beach and with the help of a state grant, outlines what a near Category 5 hurricane would mean in terms of storm surge. Then combine the same storm and predicted sea level rise.
Watch the story below:
Dr. John Renne heads FAU's Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions. He and his team picked Osprey Park, located along the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach, as their site study.
However, keep in mind that the study is instructive for the threat it reveals to huge swaths of our coastline and near coastal communities.
FAU's team put together data on storms, storm surge, sea level rise projections, etc.
They then worked with visual tech wizards to create 3D simulations. Again, please watch the video attached to this story.
Suffice it to say, the results are eye-catching. We are talking about Osprey Park and surrounding areas being swamped, really swamped, by water.
"A picture is worth a thousand words, so in this case, you are inside the picture," Renne said.
It's a picture that does not have to end with calamity.
The 3D simulation is much more than that.
"It shows some solutions, and so one solution is raising the seawall right here (at Osprey Park) much higher," Renne said. "We are (also) proposing building new parks, new islands out here, man-made islands, just like Peanut Island that would act as a (storm) buffer and a wonderful park space to use every day."
This would provide safer coastal communities, and by virtue of a focus on storm resilience, perhaps more affordable communities too.
It's like an alternate reality, and every community must decide how to shape its course.