Sunday, July 27, 2014

Attack of the Chicago Climate Change Maggots

A thunderstorm with heavy rains approaches downtown Chicago, Monday, June 24, 2013. (Credit: AP Photo / Scott Eisen) Click to enlarge.
As Washington still fights over whether or not climate change is real, people across the country are already paying costs scientists ascribe to it -- sometimes in unexpected places.  You might think about climate change in terms of rising sea levels threatening coastal cities.  But all over the Midwest, from Chicago to Indianapolis and Milwaukee, residents face just as many difficult issues as changing weather patterns collide with aging infrastructure.  The costs -- for governments, insurance companies and homeowners -- are measured not only in dollars, but in quality of life.

In Chicago over the past century, downpours that force human waste up pipes and into homes -- storms that dump at least 1.5 inches of rain in a single day -- have struck the city more often.  Annual precipitation in the Midwest grew about 20 percent during the past century.  Rains of more than 2.5 inches a day are expected to increase another 50 percent in the next 20 years.

Over the next five years, Chicago will spend $50 million on flood prevention, putting green touches on capital infrastructure projects.  One example:  workers will add French drains to a highway while repaving it, said Karen Hobbs, an environmental policy analyst who helped author Chicago's Climate Action Plan.  More rain barrels, permeable alleys and trees will sprout around the city.  The goal, Hobbs said:  find natural ways to 
reduce storm runoff by 250 million gallons.

,Attack of the Chicago Climate Change Maggots

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