Predicting Future Flood Risks
From CyrusOne’s headquarters in Dallas, we don’t have to look far to see one of the effects that climate change is already having: flooding. It seems like almost every year there’s at least one headline-making flood somewhere in our state. Our Houston neighbors, for example, have suffered through at least three “500-year floods” in the past 10 years. And it’s not just Texas… these sorts of events are becoming more frequent all over the world.
It seems clear that the old flood risk maps, which are based solely on historical data, are no longer adequate to predict future flood risk. It’s predicted that many regions will we see larger storms with higher rainfall totals often in the coming decades. In addition, sea level rise from climate change will cause more frequent flooding in regions near coasts and increase the range of severe coastal weather events like hurricanes. We need to understand these risks in order to plan for potential emergencies and maintain our commitment to uptime.
Fortunately, the First Street Foundation provides Flood Factor, an online tool that allows you to determine the future flood risk of sites within the United States. We used the Flood Factor tool to get a detailed prediction of future flood risk for each of our US locations. For our international sites, we gathered similar information from government agencies and reports. This allowed us a better understanding of our data center portfolio’s exposure to flood-related risks.
The good news is that our research suggests that more than 80% of our facilities are located in areas that will retain a low flood risk categorization in the next 30 years (see chart).
More importantly, we identified the sites that are projected to have increased flood risk in the coming decades. This allows us to reevaluate the flood control measures at these sites to be sure that we are properly prepared for what the future holds, rather than surprised by rising waters. This is just one more way that CyrusOne is planning for a sustainable future – including in Houston and other flood-prone regions.