Flooding is the most common natural hazard in Rhode Island. Sea level rise, an increase in heavy rain events, and more impervious cover have contributed to more frequent flooding due to extreme high tides, storm surge, and stormwater runoff. Floods can damage state and municipal infrastructure, prevent first responders from reaching emergencies, and cause costly damage and disruption to businesses and residences. This module introduces different types of flooding and offers long-term planning solutions and near-term adaptation methods to limit future damage and allow those impacted by flooding to recover more quickly.


By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Recognize different flooding scenarios in Rhode Island;
  2. Describe the social and economic impacts of flooding; and
  3. Identify flood mitigation examples, opportunities, and programs.


Video Time: 11 minutes, 31 seconds   Audio: required

Speaker Notes| Resources Page


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Speaker Bios:

Melinda HopkinsMelinda Hopkins is the acting state National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) coordinator with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA), and is involved in all aspects of floodplain management. Hopkins is responsible for working directly with communities and residents to help implement their floodplain management regulations and ensures that the State and local municipalities meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) NFIP regulatory standards.  She also oversees the Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) program for the state of Rhode Island. Hopkins received her certification as a certified floodplain manager through the national Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) in 2015.


Wayne BarnesWayne Barnes has worked as a planner for the city of East Providence for 10 years, and as the city’s emergency manager for seven years. He has written the city’s hazard mitigation plan and several chapters of the East Providence Comprehensive Plan, while overseeing city enrollment in FEMA’s Community Rating System and performing other planning functions including development projects, subdivision and zoning review, and serving as liaison to and member of the Conservation Commission. Barnes has a B.S. in meteorology from Lyndon State College and a master’s degree in community planning from the University of Rhode Island. He has been a certified floodplain manager through ASFPM since 2007 and is a founding board member of Rhode Island Flood Mitigation Association.


Joseph WarnerJoseph L. Warner Jr. is the building and zoning official for the town of Charlestown where he enforces the state building code, the property maintenance code and the town zoning ordinance. Warner’s skills and knowledge were put to the test after the devastation caused by “Superstorm Sandy” when he brought the town through the entire inspection and rebuilding process. He is a certified floodplain manager and has entered Charlestown into the Community Rating System, achieving the best class rating in Rhode Island. Previously, Warner worked as the building inspector for the town of South Kingstown. He also owned a residential and commercial construction company after graduating from the University of Rhode Island. He is the vice president of the Rhode Island Building Officials Association and currently serves on the Rhode Island Building Code Standards Committee.