Miami Beach

FEMA head visits Miami Beach to see how city is dealing with rising seas

W. Craig Fugate, left, Brian Deese, and Mayor Philip Levine, right, listen as city engineer Bruce A. Mowry explains the drainage project on Sunset Harbour on Wednesday. The federal officials met with Miami Beach officials a day before President Barack Obama's visit Thursday to the National Hurricane Center.
W. Craig Fugate, left, Brian Deese, and Mayor Philip Levine, right, listen as city engineer Bruce A. Mowry explains the drainage project on Sunset Harbour on Wednesday. The federal officials met with Miami Beach officials a day before President Barack Obama's visit Thursday to the National Hurricane Center. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

As President Barack Obama arrived in the Miami area on Wednesday afternoon, White House officials visited Miami Beach to discuss sea-level rise and what the city is doing to prepare.

W. Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Brian Deese, senior advisor to the president, toured the Sunset Harbour area with Mayor Philip Levine, City Engineer Bruce Mowry, Public Works Director Eric Carpenter and other officials to see drainage projects that are underway in the area. Fugate is the former director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

In a five-year plan that includes $400 million in projects, the city is raising roads and updating drainage infrastructure to prepare for rising waters. Several areas of the Beach, including Sunset Harbour, lie low and are susceptible to flooding when high tides and storms occur.

Afterward, Levine said he was pleased to show federal officials the Beach’s work.

“It was great that the federal government has taken an interest in what Miami Beach is doing,” he said.

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