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Flood History

Villahermosa, Mexico The State of Tabasco in South Eastern Mexico encompases a large coastal flood plain part of a larger low-lying coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico. This area is representative of the many deltaic floodplain areas around the world that are affected by floods due to extreme weather events. The problem of flooding in these vulnerable areas will only be exacerbated as indicated by the predictions for a changing climate (IPCC, 2008). Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are altering the Earth's climate.. Extreme weather events likely caused by temperature increases due to the so called "greenhouse effect" caused by increased concentrations of Carbon Dioxide and other gases are disrupting the natural systems around the world and are very likely the result of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses (Parry, Canziani, and Palutikof, 2007). The likely result is unpredicatable pattern of extreme weather events that include extreme precipitation values and their consequent floods

In 2007, several days of heavy rainfall in late October and early November resulted in massive floods, placing approximately 80% of the Tabasco state under water (Rhoda and Burton 2010). This event was reported as one of the worst natural disasters of the century, forcing some 20 000 people to seek emergency shelter and disrupting the lives of millions (Rhoda and Burton 2010). This flood led to the development of a new Tabasco Hydrological Plan in 2008.

However, this plan was not implemented in time to prevent the damage caused by the November 2009 flood that covered the state of Tabasco, inundating more then 200 000 people's homes (Rhoda and Burton 2010). In late August and early September of 2010, Tabasco once again experienced weeks of torrential rains resulting in massive flooding of the state. It was reported that over 198 000 people were affected in 646 communities and 14 municipalities with 4 rivers well above their critical levels (Noticieros Televisa, 2010).

A plan consisting of measures to adapt to the changing patterns of climate, chiefly of extreme rainfall events and consequent floods has been drawn for Tabasco and its update is under preparation. These adaptation plans require of a range of potential scenarios in order to develop a range of options for adaptation. These options need to be spatially explicit as the manifestations of the factors causing flooding are also spatially explicit. This is where this ADAPT tool may find its usefulness to decision and policy-makers

In 2011, days of heavy rainfall once again flooded the state, affecting some 120 000 people with eight of the state's major rivers overflowing, leaving many homes, roads and crops damaged. With the annual pattern of flooding beginning with the midsummer rainfall and ending with the receding of the floods come the end of the year.