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Mon Jun 29, 2020, 06:40 PM

At Least 6 Million American Houses Face 100-Year (1% Per Year) Flood Risk, Despite FEMA Data



Now, an exhaustive report out Monday shows that nationally, there are at least 6 million households that are unaware they’re living in homes that have a 1 percent chance of flooding in each year — putting them within a “100-year” flood zone. This is nearly 70 percent more homes at substantial risk of flooding than are within the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Special Flood Hazard Areas, a designation that determines eligibility for the National Flood Insurance Program.

This count is set to grow substantially in coming decades due to the effects of climate change, including sea level rise, which will make hurricane storm surges more damaging, as well as precipitation extremes.

A warming climate is poised to wreak havoc on the housing market, particularly if risk is not properly priced. Homeowners could be stuck owning properties that are literally and financially underwater, and insurers and lenders could face a financial reckoning of their own.

The report, from the nonprofit flood research and communications group First Street Foundation, is aimed at leveling the playing field between buyers and sellers, and democratizing specialized flood risk analyses that insurance companies and consulting firms are producing but charge hefty sums to access. Now, a prospective buyer can see a property’s flood risk score, which First Street calls the “Flood Factor,” along with a map showing flood information, for 142 million properties in the Lower 48 states.



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