Will Miami become an “American Atlantis?”

Flooding in Miami Beach
Flooding in Miami Beach

As rivers of money flow from overseas investors into Miami, the city is on its way to becoming “an American Atlantis,” according to Rolling Stone.

With sea levels rising, metropolitan Miami, population 5.5 million, could be hit by any one of a host of weather-related disasters that could make living there untenable.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development lists Miami as the number-one most vulnerable city worldwide in terms of property damage, with more than $416 billion in assets at risk to storm-related flooding and sea-level rise, according to the magazine.

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Massachusetts-based engineering firm CDM Smith was hired by the city of Miami Beach to devise a $200 million plan to keep the city high and dry for the next 20 years, assuming the sea level rises no more than six inches, which Rolling Stone views as optimistic.

In the meantime, property and flood insurance will continue to escalate. With smaller insurers exiting the market, the state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the largest insurer in Florida, could be left on the hook for billions of dollars.

“A single big storm could bankrupt the state,” Eli Lehrer, an insurance expert and president of the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., told the magazine. [Rolling Stone]Emily Schmall