© Reuters / Tom Mihalek
Alarming new research predicts that 100-year floods are going to occur annually in New England, and could happen every one to 30 years along the Gulf of Mexico and the southeast Atlantic coast.

Researchers made the startling discoveries by developing new flood maps which took into account storm surge, sea level rise and the predicted increase in the strength and occurrence of tropical storms and hurricanes to create an account of flood hazard possibility.

The term '100-year flood' refers to extreme hydrologic events that have a probability of taking place just once in 100 years, taking historical data into account. These floods have about a one percent chance of happening in any year, but, "may change to one-year floods in Northern coastal towns in the US," said Ning Lin, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton University.

In a new paper published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers explain that northern US coastlines will experience higher flood levels as a result of rising sea levels, while southern areas will see higher flood levels due to increased storms.

The researchers hope that the creation of more accurate maps which are customized to local county conditions will help municipalities better prepare for the chaos and devastation likely to come.