Contributed by: Larry A. Larson, P.E., CFM
Director Emeritus-Senior Policy Advisor
Association of State Floodplain Manager (ASFPM)
States at risk report was done by collaboration between Climate Central and ICF International. Climate Central is an independent, non-profit organization of scientists and journalists researching and reporting about our changing climate and its impact on the American public. This analysis and report was funded by the ZOOM Foundation, a family foundation which has a focus on education and the environment. The ZOOM Foundation focuses its philanthropic investments on innovative change efforts that have the high potential for sustainable, scalable impact, especially in the areas of education and the environment.
States at Risk held a telecom 18 Nov for media and released the report. Read the full press release here [States at Risk National Press Release FINAL]
This report gives states a grade from A to F for their level of preparedness to face the significant and increasing risks posed by changing levels of extreme weather, including: extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding and coastal flooding. This report is focused on threats that are projected to become more frequent and/or severe as a result of changing climate. It does not address threats like earthquake or terrorism which are not necessarily impacted by a changing climate. Wind damage has not been analyzed due to the lack of data at the appropriate scale and the relative uncertainty of future projections.
The attached Q&A document [States at Risk Report Q&A Nov 2015] gives added background on how the report was developed and what was used to grade the states. You will note a key factor for determining if a state is looking at future threats from extreme weather is to see if they are addressing the future conditions in their hazard mitigation plan. Remember, while many states do well with addressing existing hazards, this report evaluates if they are addressing future risks related to changing levels of extreme weather. While the report was developed by looking at actions and plans states had in place or are implementing, States at Risk says they talked with state officials to ensure that state actions not in printed documents were captured in the analysis.
ASFPM spoke on the telecom in support efforts like this that focus attention on building state capability. Attached is the statement ASFPM gave on the telecom [States at Risk telecon-PR–Larson talk 11-18-15]. You can get to the report for all the states through the links in the press release or from this link opens to a map where you see an interactive US map, where you can click on each state to get that report.We urge State Floodplain Managers and SHMO’s to vet and utilize this information in your work and to discuss it with your agency leaders. Chapters can use this to urge their State decision makers to consider and address these increasing hazards through mitigation, and improve flood risk management approaches. Those Chapters and states that have worked with the ASFPM Foundation to use a state symposium to identify key actions your state can do to improve its managing of flood risk may find this a useful added tool for those actions / discussions.