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Climate Change and Where You Retire: Should You Be Worried?

Category: Green Retirement Communities

By Roberta Isleib
December 15, 2105 — With talks on climate change wrapping up in Paris with an agreement signed between 196 nations, it seems like a good time to consider whether climate change should be factored into choosing your best place to retire. (And to be perfectly honest, one of our regular readers tweaked us recently to write an article on this subject, saying “retirees really need to know how climate change is affecting and will affect their retirement location.”)

So we’re hoping to set aside political agendas and ideologies today and explore some of the facts about where and how things are changing and how that might inform your retirement choices. Are there locations where you should not plan to retire, either in the near future or down the road? The answer – almost certainly.

The Washington Post reported this week that the president of Kiribati, a pacific nation consisting of 33 coral atolls, has purchased 8 mi.² in Fiji to prepare for the time when his entire population needs to be moved off the islands. That’s thinking ahead! This small island country and others believe that the time may come when their nation is under water. Extreme weather “king tides” and increasingly severe storms, have threatened many Pacific islands including Kiribati with erosion, fresh water contamination, and destruction of crops.

Global warming chart

Global warming chart

But it’s not only on the other side of the world that these changes have been witnessed. Coastal cities such as Miami and Key West are experiencing more frequent flooding. Major storms Sandy and Irene damaged coastlines and homes along the East Coast, raising difficult questions about whether new development should be allowed and whether existing homes should have the right to “armor their coasts” against the encroaching sea. Drought and wildfires are terrifying parts of the west as well.

So what’s a potential retiree to do? First and foremost, educate yourself.

COASTAL ISSUES: Are you considering a coastal retirement? NOAA has developed a coastal sea level rise estimator, which can give you an idea of what kind of flood risks might be involved in areas of your interest.

Coastal erosion is a concern in most states with beach borders. That includes almost all of Florida, the Gulf Coast, almost everything on the East Coast, and California. As an example, coastal geologist Chip Fletcher noted that Hawaii has experienced a century of sea level rise, which is expected to continue, possibly accelerate. Oahu’s north shore has seen the worst beach erosion in decades, leaving the city to wrestle with homeowners about how close to the water they can build, and whether they will be allowed to build seawalls in front of existing structures, which many believe contributes to erosion in neighboring properties.

Here’s a helpful article that helps explain the connection between sea-level rise and coastal erosion

FLOODS:
It is not just coastal areas that are experiencing record floods. Even mountain states like Colorado and Vermont have had chaotic floods in recent years from storms that have dumped unbelievable amounts of rain in just a few hours. You need to study NOAA charts before you buy – yesterday’s 100 year storms are now a commonplace.

DROUGHT: A NASA study led by climate scientist Ben Cook suggests that the risk of mega-droughts in the southwest and central plains may very well increase over this century.California has been experiencing the drought of a century. Retirees considering those areas should investigate the status of both drought and the availability of water in their target states. Interested in drought predictions in California? Check out the National Weather Service climate prediction center.

WILDFIRES: And it’s not only coastal areas that are seeing extreme climate change. Worried about wildfires? (And who wouldn’t be?) Eleven western states, including Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico are expected to experience more devastating wildfires as the earth’s temperature increases, resulting in drier conditions and longer fire seasons. You can check out this website to monitor drought and wildfire predictions. Are these a result of climate change? Not everyone agrees the correlation is direct, but most scientists believe that sea level rise and global warming are definite contributors.

DON’T FORGET INSURANCE COSTS
Undeterred by all this bad climate news? Even if you are not convinced sea levels are rising and severe weather events increasing, there is one other practical consideration. That would be insurance availability and costs. Wary of bankrupting weather calamities, fewer insurers are offering policies in flood and hurricane prone areas. They are also charging more, and requiring more specific precautions.

Bottom line? Don’t be an ostrich. Educate yourself about climate issues and problems in any area that you are considering!

More articles that may be of interest on this subject:
Rising Seas Swamping Coastal Real Estate Markets
How Scientists Explained Global Warming to Governor Rick Scott
Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change
The Bermuda Triangle of Retiree Concerns

Comments? Are there places you might avoid retiring to because of what might happen because of climate change? Or there are other issues or places to be concerned about that we haven’t mentioned here? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

About the Author
Isleib is a psychologist and writer, most recently the author of the Key West foodie mysteries as Lucy Burdette. KILLER TAKEOUT will be published in April.



Posted by Admin on December 15th, 2015

91 Comments »

  1. Perhaps it’s because i’m considering Northern Georgia, but i was surprised to see tornadoes excluded from the list. When i Google tornado risk, i’m led to Homefacts.com, and often wonder about the rating. For example, tornado risk is calculated from the destruction path that has occurred within 30 miles of the location. Isn’t that a bit of a stretch? Also, the rating of strength is often very low, such as a catagory 1. Should i be concerned about such a low-level tornado? Lastly, often a storm is listed several times. I’m not sure why. End result – I’ve never lived in an area prone to tornadoes, and this seems like an extremely unpleasant feature of an area; however should i trust the rating???

    by ella — December 16, 2015

  2. Ella, you’re right about tornadoes! We live in SE Tenn. and have actually had some tornadoes run through here – very unusual but definitely something to think about!

    That said, we have lived here for almost 9 years (moved for work) and we just cannot tolerate the heat and humidity. It is our plan to retire back to New England and we DO want to be on the coast. Considering the sea levels are forecasted to rise, Maine seems to have more high ground so we are looking there.

    by Flatearth6 — December 16, 2015

  3. The drought in California is an issue, but oddly here in Tucson, we are getting wetter monsoons and winters. The rains are coming from the Pacific hurricanes, Gulf of California storms, storms coming from the north, and even some Gulf Coast precipitation. Mountains in Mexico funnel rain clouds our way. I believe New Mexico and California will have more problems with drought than the Tucson area. We are no longer considered to be in a drought by the feds, but merely dry. Still everyone who moves here needs to let go of the mentality of having a lawn and water-greedy landscaping. Relish the indigenous plants here, or simply be a visitor and not a transplanted resident. If you cannot live with the environment, visit only, so the Sonora Desert ecosystem can maintain its integrity, including the water cycle, plants, wildlife, and human impact.

    Tucson has been prepping for groundwater issues for some time, so there are water visionaries and scientists who are working on that. Winters seem to be having more cold temps (I moved here in 1993 so base my observations over the last 23 years). We are being affected, but differently than some other areas. My sister in Seattle says that it is getting drier up there, with hotter summers and minus the long months of steady rain we remember from our childhoods.

    It’s too bad that climate change has become a political football, when it truly is grounded in scientific fact. After much reading and thought, I believe it is probably a combination of greenhouse gases and a natural shift in the earth, so that the combination is and will be felt strongly in the future. The island country of Kiribati (above) has a finger on the pulse because the country may disappear in the future due to rising seas. That is something one cannot argue about, as a king sees his country submerge.

    by Elaine C. — December 16, 2015

  4. I would like to mention that all tornadoes, no matter their category, are dangerous. Even microbursts are, as I know from experience because one ripped the roof off my house. I am retiring to a place with Low Risk, the nearest recorded tornado being 10 miles away. Still, things can change when it comes to weather and climate.

    by Elaine C. — December 16, 2015

  5. update. wife and I left MEXIFORNIA IN 2013. after 35 years in SAN DIEGO COUNTY, the seasons were narrowed down to 1. drought, 2. flood 3. earth quake, 4. fire. we survived two water rationing periods, two near misses on fires at two different home sites, missed the flooding by being on higher ground, worst SHAKER was EASTER SUNDAY 2012, while on a putting green. the green went vertical, with me and my club in hand, approximately 3 feet. missed my putt by a mile. we all agreed that leaving MEXIFORNIA was probably something to seriously consider at that moment. perhaps it was GOD’S MESSAGE, I do not know, but we left.

    by davefh — December 16, 2015

  6. Desert Dude, I now live in Saddlebrooke, and my monthly water bill has consistently been in the $29.00 range and my sewer bill is $39.42. We don’t have a pool, but we shower everyday and have dripline irrigation for our landscaping. I moved here from Hilton Head Island , a place surrounded by wster, and my water and sewer bills were probably double that. I’m thrilled with the decrease. We can’t get over how much cheaper things are here. As my mom used to say, there’should a cover for every pot. Barbara

    by Barbara — December 16, 2015

  7. I have lived in Northern California most of my life and want to comment about wildfires and drought.. I am thankfully in an area that hasn’t had wildfire within 15 miles but want to point out the last terrible one was started by 2 illegals who started it while watching marijuana in the mountain region about 50 miles west of populated areas. We have way too many of both of those causes. Another factor often not considered is if you are anyone with breathing issues the mountains, hills, and the Central Valley are very polluted by smoke and people and auto. exhausts. Many counties are small and don’t have to monitor these factors though they are major polluters with agriculture and forests, etc. Drought could be greatly helped by stopping the huge influx of people to California, and like most places reining in politicians that are supporting the growth of our population for their own personal gains from lobbyists that don’t belong in federal, state and local political offices. It is ridiculous and criminal. I urge anyone looking to retire in California to consider the downsides as they are growing rapidly.

    by Della Aller — December 16, 2015

  8. Does anyone know of a resource that can give us better information on this issue for the NEAR future? Knowing what is likely to happen in the next 100-200 years is interesting however, not particularly useful. Most people – especially those relocating and / or investing in retirement property, need to know what is likely to happen 10, 20, or 30 years from now.

    Thank you.

    by Berlin — December 16, 2015

  9. DaveFH, wonder where you relocated. We’ve checked out and like the Boise area and will look at the Sparks area before coming to a final decision. Can’t wait to escape California and the insanity.

    by Katherine — December 16, 2015

  10. We live two blocks from the Gulf Of Mexico and can’t imagine living anywhere else. If climate change raises the sea level, then we’ll just move one block further back or buy scuba gear.

    by Ira — December 16, 2015

  11. It matters not where we live. Nature will show its power once in a while, regardless. We can’t live in fear but should weight the positives against the negatives.
    We ived in various states and endured heat, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, ice storms, floods. If it happens, be prepared. If not, thank God.
    The climate is constantly changing, has for a long time. Is it worse, now that we have all the smart people and technology to tell us how much and why? Possibly.
    As with most everything, it is called life. Drove through ice storms on my way to work in one state, I slipped and fell on the ice and could have broken my leg, in another state. Got stranded in a blizzard, but was close enough to my home so that I could walk. It took forever to manage 1/2 mile, but I made it. Another state. We were out of power for a week, in the summer’s heat, had to stay in a motel, dogs and all. Made it through that. No guarantees, ever. I feel blessed having a choice where to live, and having the means and physical ability to evacuate should something big come our way.
    We won’t find the garden of Eden anytime soon, but we can come close depending on our desires. If we take the good with the bad.

    by godsgirl — December 17, 2015

  12. Ira, I love your spirit.

    by godsgirl — December 17, 2015

  13. I agree with Delta Aller. I lived in N. Calif and S. Calif for many years and am so glad I left there 5 years ago. The congestion and pollution is not fun. Its’ also very expensive! Now I just go there to visit…works for me!!

    by Loralee — December 17, 2015

  14. One of the reasons for rising sea levels is that as water temperature rises, the volume of water expands. Although we didn’t experience any hurricanes this year, probably due to the effects of El Nino, the warming water in the Gulf is the fuel for hurricanes. The warmer the water, the greater potential for a strong hurricane. It doesn’t matter if you are 1 block from the Gulf or 10 miles. A hit by a hurricane can wipe out your property and everything you own. Having experienced hurricane Ike in Galveston, I know the power of such storms and the resulting chaos afterwards. It is nothing to take lightly or to joke about. Our resort has really never recovered from the storm.

    Another problem with the rising sea temperatures is the increased amount of seaweed that piles up onshore. We had seaweed on beaches that was piled up 3-5 feet high in some places. You couldn’t even get down to the water because of it. It stinks and has to be removed with heavy equipment. It’s only getting worse.

    by LS — December 17, 2015

  15. Keep in mind theses scientists are predicting the weather 100-200 years in the future while at the same time they very often cannot accurately predict the weather for the next 5 days!

    by Mooring — December 17, 2015

  16. We moved west from NJ to OR 40 years ago and enjoyed the beauty,recreation and relative in -expense of the NW for 7 or more months of the year, with the leaden gray dampness of December thru April only a bit depressing.However we bought a condo in the Coachella Valley of CA 3 years ago and really enjoy the warmth and sunshine during the least bearable months up north.Though a bit more expensive than the Willamette Valley, the area offers activities for seniors in abundance.We especially enjoy tennis and pickleball,hiking and cultural activities.
    The weather in the south land can apparently fry eggs on the sidewalk in Summer but we are fortunate to be in Oregon then.
    There are pluses and minuses wherever one lives and natural disasters can befall one virtually anywhere,but I don’t miss snow,never experienced a tornado or hurricane ,and so far(knock on wood) no wildfires or significant quake.Water will be the big issue for the future,whether lapping at the door or running dry at the faucet.

    by Bozoboomer — December 17, 2015

  17. If you can find someone who can truly predict weather and climate changes 10 – 30 years ahead, invest now. They will be the most valuable commodity ever found!

    I do agree that everyone should consider climate change as they attempt to identify a permanent home — especially retirees. But we all need to accept the vast variability of natural events. You may have never had a tornado hit within 10 miles, but that doesn’t mean the next one won’t come directly to you. I laugh at the predictions of hurricane path — almost every year there is a hurricane that suddenly veers off at 90 decrees to the predicted path. Some people won’t live in the South or mid-South because they fear tornadoes or hurricanes, but often they don’t think twice about the fires, floods and droughts so common in the West (but surely not where YOU live).

    We know about all these dangers. You cannot guarantee that you will not be affected by them any more than you can assume your will always be cancer-free. But you can look at the worst issues and consider whether to avoid them. Do you want to live on a fault line? Do you want to live on the east coast where you will always be threatened by major storm damage? Do you want to live on exposed ridges susceptible to fire, heavy rainfall and extreme cold? If you have the bravado of Ira, go for it. But I will never forget the barren slab of concrete on the water in Gulfport, MS, after hurricane Camille (1969) where 30-some people held a hurricane watch party…

    Exercise judgement.

    by Rich — December 17, 2015

  18. “Ira” and “godsgirl” … you BOTH have great spirits, and I love this!! My husband and I (both retired) are thinking of selling the house in Illinois, moving to and renting in and around the Portsmouth area of New Hampshire or southern Maine for the summer and autumn seasons, and then renting on the west coast of FL in the winter and spring months. If we have to have a year-round rental situation in both locations at the same time, and if we can afford it, we will do this. I mean, you never know … we might want to spend a winter up north and/or a summer in FL, so to do this for a couple of years may be an option until we decide “exactly” where to live permanently. I’m grateful for this blog and for all the people who post so many great comments : )

    by Patte — December 17, 2015

  19. Mooring, I couldn’t agree with you more about scientists not being able to accurately predict the weather for the next 5 days, and quite often our local meteorologists completely miss the mark here in Pittsburgh on the weather pattern for only the next 24 hours — LOL!

    by Valerie L. — December 18, 2015

  20. Retirement? Fulltime RV. Also known as ‘wheel estate’.

    Florida in the Winter. Pick a park.
    Come Spring take a southerly westbound crossing route (example – Interstate 10/20 then up Interstate 5) going to the Pacific Northwest.
    Pacific Northwest in the Summer.
    Come late Fall take a southerly eastbound crossing route (Interstate 90/80 then down Interstate 57/24) when going back to Florida.

    Pros:
    All timed to miss the hurricanes in Florida, the hail and tornadoes in the greater midwest, and dark and dank winters of the PNW.
    While travelling we get to stop and see all our friends and relatives in Texas, Arizona, California, Nebraska, Ill-a-noise and Tennessee… once every year.
    When travelling you can vary the routes, take side trips to see attractions, whatever your little heart desires. Remember the jingle? “See the USA, in your Chevrolet.” The Chevy being the Toad (Google ‘TOAD RV’ if you don’t know what that means)
    If you don’t like your next door neighbors, relish the thought that they, or you, will be gone soon.
    The home remains the same, you just get to have a new front yard periodically.
    No real estate taxes on a house, just fuel/oil expenses. Home/RV insurance is a wash.
    No income tax assuming you declare your residence in Florida, Washington, Texas (Escapees) or South Dakota (Alternate Living).

    Cons:
    Still have the miniscule risk of earthquake when travelling through CA but your ‘house’ sits on rubber and not concrete.
    The risk of the rogue tornado (like Texas has in the Spring), but you should be able to out-run in your RV. Weather alert NOAA radio in RV and the Weather Channel on IPAD via Verizon wireless makes for a nice early warning system.
    Also have to watch out for idiot drivers. They can be worse than an earthquake and as unpredictable as a tornado.

    Full time RV’ing is not for everybody, and eventually you will have to settle down when you get to old to drive. At that time you will be subject to all of the various weather and geological risks everybody talks about, but by then you’ll be to old and senile to care. 😉

    by artbonds — December 18, 2015

  21. Mooring, Valerie, it is a matter of education and comprehension. Weather and climate are two different things. I believe both of you are getting them mixed up with each other. Quite understandable, it is a mistake made by many.

    Here is a relevant link: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/noaa-n/climate/climate_weather.html

    by artbonds — December 19, 2015

  22. artbonds,
    Living the RV Dream. My wife and I will be departing this year for our fulltime RV future. Moving whenever we desire and to wherever we choose, avoiding as much undesirable weather/climate as we can!

    by BRFGolfNut — December 21, 2015

  23. Climate change? No kidding! The northern 1/3 of the U.S. was covered with a glacier during the ice age. It all melted due obviously as a result of global warming BEFORE trains,planes & automobiles. What caused that EXTREME change in climate? Come on folks, suck it up. Remember chicken little? Go live where ever you want!

    Dan O.

    by Dan O. — December 21, 2015

  24. Yes, climate has changed repeatedly in the earth’s past. This means that the earth’s climate is highly mutable. In glacial times, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was 180 ppm. Prior to industrialization, and after the ice age passed, the carbon dioxide concentration had risen to 280 ppm. With this change in carbon dioxide came a 6 degree C change in temperature — an increase. Now due to human activity the earth’s carbon dioxide concentration is 400 ppm. Might we not expect a corresponding further increase in temperature and associated sea level rise? just saying.

    by jeff chanton — December 21, 2015

  25. I have traveled a lot in my life, every few years, due to work. RV life seems like a lot of fun to me. I am sure there are pro’s and con’s to that lifestyle too, just like any others. Retirement is about limiting the con’s as much as possible. All of us have different opinions of the con’s. Weather is warming across the nation, causing some weather issues at times. This week on my TV weather station, there will be weather reports to show where and effects of heavy snow, rain, tornado’s, etc in the different parts of our nation from the global warming. I still believe a person should ask their doctor about the weather condition and climate best for their health. Kiplinger’s does have a health index for comparison on their cities. I wish every one a Merry Holiday Season with family and friends!

    by DeyErmand — December 22, 2015

  26. interesting covers from Time the weekly news magazine. do not take at face value, but you can buy the covers.

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/files/2013/06/Screen-Shot-2013-06-04-at-10.50.34-AM1-640×476.png

    you can buy them http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19770131,00.html

    by elaine — December 22, 2015

  27. Writers can be like artists, able to paint pictures with words. Depending on the artist the picture can be bleak or uplifting. Writers who tell just half the story are like artists who paint only half the picture. Of course today anything passes for art but when it comes to choosing a potentially permanent retirement home it doesn’t seem fair to paint just half the picture for the person who may be relying heavily on the information to make his or her choice for that new home. Please be aware that some of our our friends in the world of science were heralding GLOBAL COOLING! in the 1970s. You can google the news articles on that subject. Just type in “news articles on global cooling 1970s” Then the cooling cycle ended ( yes it WAS cold and lots of snow, I’m 62 and lived through it ). As temps. warmed the cries changed to global warming. Now temps. have leveled off so the new and carefully choosen terminology is “climate change” to conveniently include anything that happens weather wise. If half a picture suits you, enjoy. Otherwise may I recommend a couple of websites that will help you gain full perspective on the subject of climate change… answersingenesis.org and icr.org. As I am sure our friends in academia will agree…until you get both sides of any story your not educated your indoctrinated. just replying.

    Dan O.

    by Dan O. — December 22, 2015

  28. Two sides to every story! Why, Dan O., what a strange concept! Enjoyed your post.
    Wishing you and all a very happy holiday season, and a meaningful and fulfilling new year!

    by ella — December 23, 2015

  29. This came in from “C”, who originally suggested this article. So glad you approve!


    I just read through your blog article regarding climate change and retirement locations. I thought it was outstanding and very well researched. Just as we can now create “Top Ten Lists” for states which have the lowest cost of living or the highest tax rates for retirees, I can see a time in the very near future when we could do the same thing for climate change. I can imagine something like: “The 10 States Most Likely to be Impacted by Climate Change” or “Ten Safe Havens in a Changing Climate”. I suspect the information is out there, but it would take a tremendous amount of work to pull the research together. As an example, I am considering Washington State as a retirement location. In my research, I found that state officials have already published a detailed plan for how they will deal with expected changes in climate. They have a good handle on what changes to expect (reduced snowpack in the mountains, increased risk of wildfire, etc.) and they have a plan for what they will do to meet each challenge. Some states are further along than others in preparing for climate change, and a fair number of states have done nothing at all. But between national assessments by climate scientists and what individual states are doing to prepare for climate change, there is a growing body of research out there. Thanks again for an excellent article regarding climate change and its possible effects on retirement locations. I believe many of your readers will take the information to heart and begin factoring climate change into their retirement calculations.

    by Admin — December 23, 2015

  30. Dan O. Thank you! I agree!!

    by LindaF — December 23, 2015

  31. Here’s wishing everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! May the new year bring new perspectives useful in helping to calm the many fears real or imagined so many people seem to be living with.

    Dan O.

    by Dan O. — December 23, 2015

  32. A very blessed Christmas to all.

    by godsgirl — December 24, 2015

  33. I enjoy checking the weather channel, to see what’s going on in my potential destinations. I never imagined that I’d be having a rainy 75 degree day in Charlotte this year!

    I do pay attention to environmental facts relating to locations where I think about retiring. Its not always easy to try to research this. After all, communities have little interest in identifying that their peaceful farmland has actually been contaminated with pesticides, lovely old buildings in historical districts contain lead paint and the pipes are wrapped with asbestos, there’s a coal ash or nuclear plant down-wind, and the beaches have been closed multiple times due to waste run-off (not to mention that the developer of a gorgeous 55+ neighborhood built it on a closed landfill, swamp or Brownsfields site). And don’t forget to look at water quality crime, tax increases, traffic, termite or red ant infestations, etc. Hmmm, maybe I need a survivalist cave! Fear of climate change falls into the bucket of things that will not push my decision.

    My best wishes to all, and particularly to the Administrators and contributors who keep providing so much helpful information. This is the year that I intend to make my selection of a retirement destination, and I appreciate having such a great site.

    by Kate — December 24, 2015

  34. Regarding safest place to retire when considering climate change. I remember reading a story about a family that researched the safest place to live in the world. They found their island paradise, sold everything and moved. The location was the Falkland Islands in 1981.
    I’ve thought it over and I cannot think of anyplace that does not have it’s risk of tornado, hurricane, earthquake, lack of water, or too much water with most of it colored white or packed into something you slip and slide on. Even RV’ers living the nomad lifestyle can get caught every now and then. It pretty much comes down to ‘pick your poison’.
    Not saying we can’t try to defy the odds…

    by artbonds — December 24, 2015

  35. A second to the above appreciation to all who keep these sites humming along as well as all of us who contribute. They are so very helpful. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays – whatever suits you.

    by Carold — December 25, 2015

  36. We are in our fourth year of a drought here in So. Cal. We’re 15 minutes from Disneyland. Our house is paid for. And…we’re RETIRED. We’re thinking of relocating!

    Our number one requirement is that the area be semi-arid. And everyone is right. Hard to find. Smaller population would be lovely. Kaiser, or something similar, is very important. Due to medical issues, being close to excellent care is critical. Looked into Seattle, Medford, Grand Junction, St. George, Salt LakeCity, Meridian/Boise, etc. where have we missed? And we do love higher elevations…no plains or large bodies of water!

    Kay

    by Kay VanGundy — December 26, 2015

  37. Kay.
    1. Best answer: Front Range of Colorado. Denver, Bolder, Ft. Collins, Colorado Springs, Pueblo.
    Runner ups (not too sure on the medical…)
    2. Cheyenne, WY
    3. Albuquerque, NM
    4. Flagstaff, AZ

    by artbonds — December 27, 2015

  38. I am less worried about future climate changes as i am about the history of certain areas and what’s happening RIGHT NOW. If any of you are considering the Blue Ridge areas of SW North Carolina or Northern Georgia, you know that these areas have been extremely unstable as of late. A warning has even been issued for the next few days of land and rock slides. Very scary! Why don’t i see this in the NYS Catskill Mountains? Is it because they’re lower?
    Any info. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    by ella — December 28, 2015

  39. Yes, global warming is real, it’s caused by humans releasing an excess of carbon into the atmosphere primarily by burning fossil fuels. We, worldwide, are currently using (burning) 90 Million barrels of oil per day or about 360 Million gallons of fuel. This does not include coal, natural gas, wood, or other methanes. This causes an increasingly growing layer of CO2 in our planet’s atmosphere which acts like a greenhouse, it lets solar rays in but is much slower in letting heat escape, hence rising temperatures. The resulting warmer atmosphere holds more energy and moisture which will produce more weather extremes.
    Today’s extreme weather is found at the North Pole where today it’s 34 degrees! That’s about 72 degrees above average. Here’s the story, read down several blog postings : http://robertscribbler.com

    by Trout Chaser — December 30, 2015

  40. I thought this may be helpful to those with concerns of global warming and climate changes, http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-locations/ Just click on North America and it gives you a list of cities. Happy New Year!

    by DeyErmand — December 31, 2015

  41. Hello all, and a blessed New Year to all of you.
    Whether we “believe” in climate change (or the causes thereof), or not, I think our purpose here is to discuss how climate in general does influence our decision where to retire. So let us not get too upset about this or that, but rather put our heads together and gather information, so that we can enjoy our latter years to our desires, whatever they may be.
    Most of us come here for a friendly exchange of information, and I am sure we all will continue to strive for that.

    by godsgirl — January 1, 2016

  42. Godsgirl, so well said. Thank you! May the New Year be happy for all of us and our retirements all we hope for them.
    John Brady

    by Admin — January 1, 2016

  43. godsgirl, thank you for your timely comment. I had worries when this thread started that it could evolve into that kind of debate (uh oh, lets not get started on evolution too… ;). The climate change debate does not need to started in a retirement blog, especially among those that have no concept that there is a difference between ‘weather’ and ‘climate’. Thanks for keeping everybody on track.

    by artbonds — January 1, 2016

  44. Sorry to interject my opinion here, but I felt compelled to respond to someone else’s opinion being represented as fact. Art, nice cheap shot. I do know the difference between climate and weather as I am a scientist that doesn’t “believe” in the religion of climate science as you. I had the same concerns as mentioned about this thread topic becoming religious propaganda. Climate, of course, should be a factor in choosing our retirement locations, but our decisions shouldn’t be muddled up with climate change that will certainly not occur in our lifetimes. I wish all a blessed New Year.

    by RickW — January 1, 2016

  45. Howdy,

    Yes, in the forefront of my mind I was initially concerned about living in coastal areas for my retirement because of the predicted rise in sea levels. Of course, I’m also concerned about hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, severe drought, monster snow/ice storms, sink holes, massive wild fires, land slides, tidal waves, tornadoes, and increased temperature fluctuations.

    Wow! That’s a lot to worry about. Recently I’ve decided my time on earth should instead be spent looking at the positive things in life. Tragedies and calamities will always be prevalent, weather/climate related or not.

    Since I’m wrapping up my working career and getting ready for retirement, my priorities and lifestyle has gradually changed. My days of struggling for that corporate promotion or worrying about being laid off are almost over. Now I have more time to reflect and learn from my life lessons. I have learned to lighten up and be more understanding toward others. My granddaughter has given me that opportunity for a do-over, to see the world in a different light – through the eyes of a child. Yes, evil does exist and constantly kills and destroys. I do take precautions with my safety, but, to dwell on them can be depressing. There is so much beauty and goodness all around us to enjoy. With the extra time in retirement I’m going to enjoy even more of it.

    Someplace out there is a mail box with my name on it. I’m going to have fun looking for it and this web site is a great tool that really helps the process. Be nice to each other, do no evil, and take advantage of the new year given to us. Yes, a do-over gift.

    by Alan — January 1, 2016

  46. Here in coastal Carolina everyone starts the discussion by saying, Although we may disagree on the causes of climate change……….then the discussion proceeds, one hopes productively. We can so clearly see the changes here.

    by Debra — January 2, 2016

  47. We have been living in desert since 1988 (Southern Cal) and are so tired of the heat, water problems, and high cost of living. We want 4 seasons, but not too severe (and of course we know that every year can be different), we want a dry climate with low cost of living. We love Flagstaff but it is not in the budget for us, so we are moving to Show Low AZ. It is in the White Mountains, cost of living is lower than where we are now and they have the 4 season that are dry. They do get snow, but not as bad as Flagstaff, they do get the monsoons in late summer but the humidity is still lower than where I grew up in northern Indiana… And the temp is so much lower than where we are now. It rarely gets over 85 degrees in the summer. (So tired of 100+ temps.)

    by Kosborne — January 2, 2016

  48. Debra, I also live in coastal Carolina, in fact, less than a mile from the inter coastal waterway and I don’t have any idea what you are talking about when you say “We can clearly see the changes here”. I have seen no changes and everyone does NOT start the conversation with “Although we may disagree on the causes of climate change”. I don’t think you speak for most coastal Carolina residents I know because we don’t believe in climate change.

    by Dick — January 3, 2016

  49. Just to simplify the discussion re climate change, I copied a website w the scientific results. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change
    We live in Seattle and love it. But so many people are moving here that the traffic is now horrific and a real issue. The climate is moderate so usually is not too cold or too hot. Of course, there are exceptions along the bell curve. Looking for other places to live and enjoy reading about that here. Although I will not look on this particular site for climate change opinions. Thanks for the other retirees who give detailed feedback on experiences in retirement in differing locales. Much appreciated! Cheerio and happy retirement! Life is short so living it is good.

    by Maureen Wright — January 3, 2016

  50. Dick – what is your location? NC or SC? If you travel to parts of the low country in SC, you will see the damage from rising ocean levels…Hunting Island and Fripp Island in particular. There are probably many examples, but those are closest to me in Beaufort. You will see remnants of houses that have been lost to the sea, as well as many trees that have toppled over or are about to fall in the ocean. Scary maps are available online that show these islands will be gone altogether in the future. It did not change our decision to retire here, and we enjoy getting out on the water whenever possible to enjoy all of the sea islands while they last!

    by SandyZ — January 4, 2016

  51. This post may be a little sideways of the topic as my question deals with current climate considerations more than change. But here it is:
    A while ago the topic was hurricanes on the coast of the more southern Eastern states. I’m actually thinking of NC. I remember an evacuation line being mentioned. On the coastal side, evacuation was mandated; whereas, on the inland side, staying put was permitted.
    Does anyone know anything about this? Even better, does anyone have any information about this situation. I am particularly thinking of Southport and New Bern. Many thanks!

    by ella — January 4, 2016

  52. Sorry Dick I should have specified SC Lowcountry. Our government officials don’t want to debate the cause of climate change but they do want to do something. And we can clearly see the effects here as SandyZ has pointed out. The last cottage standing at Hunting Island is a poignant example.

    by Debra — January 4, 2016

  53. Ella, As a person who is hired by FEMA to go into catastrophe areas I will try to answer your question. It isn’t just South Eastern coasts that have mandated areas. This is becoming more common since Katrina. (I was there.) Anyone who refuses to evacuate a mandated area, will be left to their own survival. FEMA and all the agencies workers can not risk their own lives, trying to convince a few repeatedly they need to leave. Nor should the “determined to stay” turn around and sue the agencies for not helping them when they “at the last minute” decide to leave after FEMA finished their search and rescue of that area. Mandated evacuation is only until utilities are restored. FEMA may have maps that I am not aware. Figuring the evacuation line, maybe ask if you are living in a flood zone, or do you pay flood insurance. Hurricane and Tornado insurances too. Hope this helps.

    by DeyErmand — January 4, 2016

  54. Thanks, DeyErmand. You do interesting work!
    Perhaps the line is different with each hurricane (i don’t know). I do remember seeing such a line on the news and weather channel during the last big hurricane in NC. Any NC folks who can help me out with this?

    by ella — January 5, 2016

  55. I’ve been looking at retirement in the SE US for several years. Hurricanes have been a real concern. Based on our tax situation, FL has become our focus. If you look at the data on NOAA. gov for hurricane strikes over the last 100 years, you’ll see that there’s a material difference by county. The 3 southernmost counties in Eastern GA and three Northernmost counties of the Atlantic coast of FL have substantially fewer strikes that other counties, particularly in South FL. We are concentrating on Amelia Island, FL in Nassau County, FL.

    by Richard — January 5, 2016

  56. Thanks, Richard; i’ll check out the NOAA site. Right now it’s do-able, but i can’t imagine having to be ready to evacuate in the future (on a regular basis) when i’m in my 70’s and my husband’s in his 80″s. Does not sound like a good retirement scenario, although i know many do it.

    by ella — January 5, 2016

  57. ella, when they started building new homes in Nocatee (www.nocatee.com) the builders were required to build ‘safe rooms’ inside the house so you could weather a hurricane in place. I heard that requirement was done away with. Not sure why, it could be that it was too expensive and was impacting sales, or maybe it was decided since the homes were in a ‘safer’ area (one of the 3 Northernmost counties of the Atlantic coast of FL) it was statistically deemed not necessary.
    In any case, if there was a safe room, or one built specifically for the purpose (http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/how-to-build/build-a-hurricane-shelter.htm) you may not feel the need to evacuate with the rest of your community.
    Considering that the power will be out, the roads blocked by debris, and it would be Summer, whether staying in place or not is another debate. Unless you had a generator with plenty of gas and enough food/water for a weeks stay…
    Just a thought,
    Art

    by artbonds — January 6, 2016

  58. Thanks, Art! Good to know. Although the concept does sound a little creepy; don’t you think?

    by ella — January 6, 2016

  59. Ella, I was able to find out the line is drawn by each hurricane impact. That each county has been advised to have an evacuation plan in place. In my work history I have been repeatedly to the gulf States and Atlantic side of Florida, Several times to New Jersey, and only one time to North Carolina. I think being aware and prepared is wise, even in the outskirts of the line. My hurricane season is scheduled for June 1st through November 1st this year on the Atlantic coast. There is a weakening in the El Nino trade winds which may cause 3+ hurricanes this year. (Tropical depressions) If I base what I know, with what I have seen in the past, it seems we go through 3 year cycles, give or take, with all types of weather.

    by DeyErmand — January 6, 2016

  60. Thanks so much, DeyErmand. VERY interesting!

    by ella — January 6, 2016

  61. Art,

    When we first starting looking at homes, we saw many with safe rooms, usually the master BR closet. Within the last two years, no new houses that we saw had incorporated them into their design. When I asked a FL Realtor why, he answered “why highlight exposure to hurricanes; it’s a turnoff to buyers”. Make sense.

    by Richard — January 6, 2016

  62. Art,

    In the world of marketing, it makes sense. In a world of reality, not so much!

    by ella — January 7, 2016

  63. ella, sound a little creepy? Not sure… with all the neighbors evacuated it would sure sound quiet!
    Richard, you up in that area? Did you buy in Nocatee?

    by artbonds — January 7, 2016

  64. DH says eastern Tn doesn’t get much bad weather compared to the surrounding states. We’re heading back out before the end of January to find our retirement dream. We are going to check out NW of Chattanooga this year. We heard that there was some flooding lately.
    I’m still wondering how the glaciers melted with no combustible engines at the time??

    by Caps — January 7, 2016

  65. Art,

    We’re still in CA and working. 2 or so years away from retirement. We’re considering buying land in Fernandina Beach.

    by Richard — January 9, 2016

  66. Caps, If your referring to the glaciers that were present here during the “Ice Age” yeah me too! What caused the warming that sent them packing? Had to be some serious warming back then…before trains, planes and automobiles.
    Oh yeah and that wasn’t weather change, it was climate change. See there, we do know the difference. Can someone please tell us all what the temperature of the earths atmosphere is supposed to be? Perhaps if it is in fact warming it’s simply returning to normal. First we must establish normal which we can’t then we can begin the hand ringing if we must or maybe not! Come on guys, pick your spot, move there and worry if you must about that which you can control. Ever try to control sunspots? How about volcanos?

    Dan O

    Dan O

    by Dan Rateau — January 9, 2016

  67. We moved this post by Carold here from another article that wasn’t quite as relevant:

    What are the benefits of Hawaii? Besides beautiful climate, beautiful islands, etc. Understand natives would prefer we not move there? Husband ready to go there but my sister and family are in TX and east coast and it seems so far away. Worry that travel to visit would become too expensive and difficult as we age. Also, we have two cats. Thanks.

    by Admin — January 10, 2016

  68. I think you do need to factor in climate change when you choose your retirement home even if you aren’t a believer. If in 10 or 15 years if you want to sell there may be more research and evidence in the changing climate that make your home not as attractive to buyers who now need to pay closer attention.

    by Drew — December 16, 2019

  69. Thanks, Daryl. Good non-partisan post. The world is changing fast. Mother Nature will win out. Possibly rising sea levels and more frequent and powerful storms simply demonstrate Her strategy.

    by RichP — December 16, 2019

  70. Thanks Lynn and I agree!

    by Brad — December 19, 2019

  71. Global warming caused by excessive burning of coal and other fossil fuels is real and is affecting our coastal regions today! Avoid low lying areas near the coast as this rising ocean levels will continue to get worse ! Erratic weather is affecting the entire country so pay attention to areas more severely affected as the Midwest is seeing increased tornado activity
    Politicians for some reason seem to ignore these facts! Great topic !

    by Rin — December 19, 2019

  72. Ron, I totally agree with you. Let’s say, however, you are wrong about climate change. What is the worst thing that could happen – we have a cleaner earth? No downside to cleaning up our planet!

    by Brian — December 19, 2019

  73. Is anyone else ruling out parts of the country for retirement because they are afraid of what climate change might impact it?

    by Admin — December 20, 2019

  74. I just saw an article yesterday about ski resorts in the U.S. may soon be forced to close because of declining snow amounts. Obviously, this will seriously impact those communities dependent on jobs in that industry. But it will also impact those communities, especially out west, that depend on snow melt for most of their water supply. The front range cities of Colorado, the area around Las Vegas and much of Arizona depend heavily on that source of water. If the ground water aquifers in those areas are depleted due to the prolonged drought and excessive pumping of ground water, then we could see declining home values and migration out of those areas.

    by LS — December 20, 2019

  75. Absolutely! I’ve ruled out Southern Florida with the shrinking coastlines predicted and the scourge of “Red Tide”, Most of North Carolina with the 500 year floods coming every few years now. Same with South Carolina as it can no longer even stand a coastal hurricane without horrendous inland flooding. And the biggest part of Climate Change affecting my move is the political climate. But I will just leave it at that and would appreciate it if you do as well.

    by Dave C — December 20, 2019

  76. Hey Admin! Climate change was the main reason we left Beaufort SC. It is one thing to believe in climate change and another to watch it.

    by Debra — December 20, 2019

  77. Link to Fourth National Climate Assessment. It’s not a pretty picture. https://www.globalchange.gov/nca4

    by JoannC — December 20, 2019

  78. In the short term the coastal areas are being affected today ! Long term the Great Lakes area is the best prospect! Upper peninsula of Michigan will evolve into the more moderate climate but that is in 100 years from now!
    For me in my early 70s locating near the coast (25 miles inland) but on higher elevation areas without the excessive hurricane insurance requirements is where I’m heading

    by Ron — December 21, 2019

  79. Ron,
    What areas are you looking at? What states/cities? We’re looking for warmer climate but not crazy heat in summer.

    by Cindy — December 22, 2019

  80. Areas around Asheville NC and a Northern Georgia are very attractive

    by Ron — December 23, 2019

  81. Having lived in these parts for 58 years, I completely agree with Ron. I would include all mountain/foothill areas between.

    by RichPB — December 23, 2019

  82. Ron,
    The UP is an peninsula, water on three sides, not small but not large either. The Great Lakes are water and the level of the water in the lakes is very high. One climate change characteristic is increased rain, at least in MI. While the levels go up and down the people who have property on the shore have problems. (Lake St. Claire, btwn Huron and Erie had problems with wakes from small craft all of this year. The freighters are limited on speed.)

    The lakes also have bad storms that sink large ships, i.e. the Edmund Fitzgerald. So you will have erosion and flooding just as you do with the ocean storms.

    It’s not going to be easy up there but it may be the best we have.

    by Shumidog — December 24, 2019

  83. Has anyone given thought to areas with ticks and other insect problems? I’ve got friends from New England and the Carolinas living with Lyme Disease, and really struggling. I’d not really like to live in areas where they spray insecticides either, but am drawn to NC. Currently we are living in fire probe Northern NM and love it here, but…not sure where to go to next.

    by Magenta — January 9, 2020

  84. Magenta, Ticks are a concern, they can transmit several other diseases that are as bad or even worse them lyme. Having each been treated for early lyme twice we have developed a habit of doing a “tick check” whenever we return from an activity in an area that ticks might lurk like high grass or avoid those areas altogether. But I wouldn’t consider insect or even animal borne disease a reason to cross a state off the list to consider for retirement.

    by Jean — January 10, 2020

  85. The key take away from this blog is that most people are aware of the increasing dangers of global warming, the root causes of global warming which is burning coal and other fossil fuels ! We have alternative fuel sources and should be taking full advantage!
    Those still denying should be ignored! Those saying his is a natural occurrence are correct ! In the past over thousands and thousands of year this has occurred! But never had it occurred in under 100 years as it is now occurring!
    Research any area you consider relocating for future impacts from global warming

    by Ron — January 10, 2020

  86. Magenta, I agree with Jean — don’t let fear of ticks or anything else determine where you choose to live. With climate change and changing animal habitats (they carry ticks and others), the possibility exists almost anywhere — including other countries and continents. Use Deet repellent if you can and check yourself carefully when appropriate.

    I know first-hand of the problem. My wife has alpha-gal from a tick bite. Did it happen here in NC? VA? TN? The Rockies, or one of the other places we lived and visited? We don’t know. Be properly cautious and enjoy your life.

    by RichPB — January 10, 2020

  87. Debra-
    Beaufort SC has been on our retirement short list for awhile. I know there is flooding in the area. Is that what you’re referring to? How bad is it?
    Thank you

    by Staci — January 11, 2020

  88. We have ticks here in CT. It is a problem but people adapt to it. My dogs wear a flea/tick collar year round. It is the Seresto brand. They are a bit pricy but last around 8 months. People who hike or do lawn work need to spray themselves with a flea/tick repellant and they suggest people tuck their pants into their sock to prevent ticks from crawling up your pant leg. However, there is no way to protect yourself completely. Any outdoor activity such as festivals, picnic’s, hiking, playing sports there is a chance of getting a tick on you. CT is not alone with this problem. I remember as a kid raking leaves and jumping into the pile. I would not allow a kid to do that now!

    I rarely have seen ticks but they are out there. What I see more of is stink bugs! Where I live we never had them and for the last 4 years or so they are a menace! As soon as the nights get cool, they cling to our screen door to our deck. They are persistent and we find them in the middle of winter in the house. I despise them!

    by Louise — January 11, 2020

  89. We have ticks here in Rhode Island. But I love it here as I live by the sea and it’s really gorgeous. My English Setter also wears a Seresto collar and it does the trick. My sister lives in Minnesota and they also have ticks as does Wisconsin, where I grew up, and New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts where I have also lived. For me, ticks are not a reason to stay away from a place because so many places have them and I think you just have to be mindful of them and use good judgement about protecting yourself as best you can. For me, living in a place I love, where I have lovely neighbors, opportunities to enjoy cultural events, where I have good transportation infrastructure, fine medical care and the opportunity to enjoy each day is something I appreciate so much.

    by Barb — January 12, 2020

  90. I met a couple from Savannah last week who have relocated to the mountains. They call themselves climate change Refugees

    Here is a link to a S.C. PBS documentary.

    https://www.scetv.org/sea-change

    by Debra — January 13, 2020

  91. Very interesting documentary, Debra. One thing that struck me, besides the obvious persistent flooding and documented sea level change, is potential salt contamination of the aquifer. That could render far more than the beachfront and low lying areas uninhabitable.

    by Peder — January 14, 2020

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