Hurricane Irene made landfall three times on the Atlantic Coast in 2011—first on the North Carolina Outer Banks, then again on the New Jersey Coast, and finally in Brooklyn, New York, as a tropical storm. Now, three years after the storm, grant money allocated as part of FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is making landfall in Rhode Island, slated to help fund the elevation of eight houses in Misquamicut, a beach area in the coastal town of Westerly. The Westerly Sun has the story ("Flood-prone houses getting a boost from FEMA," by Dale P. Faulkner).
"The elevation projects will result in a different look for parts of Misquamicut, where many houses are built on concrete slabs," the paper reports. "For example, one of the houses approved for a grant has a current elevation of 5.7 feet. Base flood elevation for the house is 13 feet. The building code calls for 14 feet for new construction. The property owner receiving the grant can elevate the house to 16 feet."
Ten homeowners filed applications with the town for the grant money, the paper reports, with two applications disqualified. "The applications were subject to a cost-benefit analysis by FEMA," the paper reports. "The analysis accounts for the size of a building, its current elevation and exact location in the flood plain, and its likelihood of reaching the useful life of an elevation project as set by FEMA—30 years. Projects were viewed in the aggregate, meaning if one project failed to attain a high enough score in the FEMA ranking system, but enough others exceeded minimum scores, all of the projects would be approved."