Miami museum installs system to protect against hurricane flooding

Miami, Apr 27 (EFE).- With this year’s Atlantic hurricane season to begin on June 1, Miami’s Vizcaya Museum on Tuesday unveiled a new system to protect against flooding caused by tropical storms and hurricanes.

The museum, located quite near the salt water and featuring huge outside gardens, presented the Tiger Dam system consisting of rubber cylinders that can be filled with water and placed on top of one another to create a barrier up to 9.7 meters (32 feet) high.

As the museum’s assistant director for horticulture and urban agriculture, Ian Simpkins, told EFE, installing the new system was approved as a result of the “millions of dollars” of damage the museum and its grounds suffered in 2017 due to Hurricane Irma.

At the unveiling of the protective system, museum authorities showed a video of the completely flooded outside gardens and the damage to the museum’s restaurant.

Vizcaya is the first site in Florida to use this system, although other states are already employing it.

The beautiful buildings and gardens were built between 1914 and 1923 by businessman James Deering, who made his fortune in agribusiness and decided to build a winter home in Miami.

With furnishings dating from the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, the house is surrounded by classical and exquisitely manicured gardens that are reminiscent of the typical estates of the landed gentry in Italy and France, and they extend all the way to Biscayne Bay.

Originally, the estate covered 180 acres (73 hectares), although that has been reduced to 50 acres (20 hectares) at present, given that the family ceded part of the land to a charitable hospital and to the local Catholic archdiocese.

The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season will be the first to reflect the new average storm activity in the region prepared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The new averages for the Atlantic hurricane season – taking into account the activity over the 30-year period between 1991 and 2020 – are for 14 named storms and seven hurricanes.

The prior averages, based on data gathered between 1981 and 2010, were for 12 named storms and six hurricanes, NOAA said.

The average of three Category 3, 4 or 5 storms on the 5-point Saffir-Simpson scale remains unchanged from the earlier period.

Maria Torres, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center, recently urged the public to make preparations in advance for the storm season and to take into account the mortal danger posed by flooding from storm surge in Miami’s low-lying environment.

She said that sometimes people take storm flooding lightly and many fatalities have occurred in recent years due to storm surge.

Colorado State University said that the 2021 season should bring storm activity in escess of the annual average, with 17 tropical storms developing in the Atlantic Basin.

CSU’s annual forecast is for eight hurricanes, four of which will be major storms with sustained winds of at least 170 kilometers (105 miles) per hour.


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