Coastal Flood Risks: Achieving Resilience Together

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Historically, cities, towns and villages are settled around ports along the nation's coastlines, providing individuals and families opportunities for trade, jobs and transportation, recreation and relaxation. These areas are extremely important to our nation, with great economic, historic and cultural significance.

Although the coastal areas of the United States comprise only one-fifth of the land area of the contiguous 48 states, they account for more than half of the nation’s population and housing supply. In 1990, over 133 million Americans lived in the 673 counties along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes. Since 1960, population in these areas increased by 41 percent.1

The continued increase in coastal population leads to increased coastal development, which places greater numbers of structures at risk for damage from coastal hazards. Coastal hazards like storm surge, hurricane force winds and flooding place this population at risk; the risk is greater if they are not aware of the natural hazards that surround them and steps they can take to mitigate it.

Six of the top 10 most expensive natural disasters in our nation were caused by coastal storms. Using the 2010 census population counts, it has been determined that 39 percent of the U.S. population live in counties subject to significant coastal flooding during the 1-percent annual-chance flood event.  

Because of the importance of understanding the nation’s coastal flood risk, FEMA has initiated coastal flood risk studies for 100 percent of the populated coastline as part of its Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) effort. Through the Risk MAP effort, FEMA is updating the nation’s coastal Flood Insurance Studies (FISs) and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), where appropriate, and publishing new FIRMs in densely populated areas that were not previously mapped. 

FEMA is working with local community officials to produce additional data and hazard mitigation tools to enable more strategic emergency preparedness and mitigation planning in coastal communities through the Risk MAP effort. If you live or work in a coastal area, it is important that you:

  • Review and understand your property’s natural hazard risk; and

  • Take steps to understand individual actions you can take to minimize your personal and property risk to coastal hazards.

This website provides information and tools to help citizens and local officials better understand flood risk and take steps to lessen the impact of coastal storms in your community.

For More Information

[1] NOAA - Trends and Future Challenges for U.S. National Ocean and Coastal Policy

  

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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