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The Precipitation Problem

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

The 8th National Risk Assessment by the First Street Foundation has found that 21% of homeowners across the U.S. can now expect a "100-year flood" event every 25 years. In fact, more than 50% of the U.S. population is living in areas now twice as likely to experience a severe flood - including parts of Virginia.

These projections are based on updated precipitation models that include climate-driven changes in heavy rainfall events, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had previously missed in their 2022 report that designated high-risk flood areas.

According to Dr. Jeremy Porter, head of climate implications research at First Street Foundation, "Over the last few years, we have seen a remarkable uptick in flooding from heavy rainfall, which, unfortunately, is becoming our new normal for most of the U.S. population."

While the Northeast, Ohio River Valley, and the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coasts have seen the heaviest rainfalls, as the map below shows, parts of Virginia can expect much more rain both this year and in those to come.

Map of the U.S. that shows areas of high risk of increased flooding with white being less and darkest blue being more, showing Virginia is at much higher risk.
The National Risk Assessment study shows that flooding risks are changing, and are more likely to impact heretofore low-risk areas.

This flood model demonstrates the need for local and state governments across the Commonwealth to accumulate accurate data and analyze the impacts of climate change. Infrastructure investments to protect against flooding and the allocation of funds for research are just two of the steps needed to protect Virginia homeowners.

Homeowners in Virginia should also consider flood insurance, even if they are not located in high-risk areas. Flash flooding can affect properties located miles from rivers and shorelines. You can read more about the need for flood insurance here.


Sources: FEMA, First Street Foundation, ALM PropertyCasualty360



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