Category 4 storm, phase two of hurricane Irma.

Guwahati/ 10th September’2017 (Prag News Desk): In the next 48 hours, one of the fiercest hurricanes ever recorded is expected to slam into South Florida. Hurricane Irma, which tore through the Caribbean as a Category 5, is now expected to make landfall as a Category 4 storm, bringing at least 130 mph winds and flooding the coast with up to 12 feet of storm surge from the ocean.

South Florida has one vulnerability that city planners and government leaders haven’t come close to fixing: flooding. It doesn’t take a hurricane, or even a tropical storm, to leave a neighborhood submerged in water for days. All it takes is a summer storm, or a seasonal king tide. In June, for example, heavy rains flooded inland Broward County, closing a popular mall for three days.

There are several reasons why water keeps pooling in the southern tip of Florida. Sea levels are rising, South Florida was built on a marsh, and rapid development keeps shrinking the wetlands that can absorb and drain excessive rainwater. So there are few places for water to go when Miami and Fort Lauderdale are deluged. Because South Florida’s economy — and tax revenue — is so reliant on real estate development, politicians have done little to put the brakes on urban sprawl.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because these are some of the very same issues Houston faced when Hurricane Harvey dropped 50 inches of rain on it in late August. The coastal Texas city is also built on swampland and has undergone rapid urban development in the last 50 years.

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