New NOAA Tool Identifies Natural Disaster Risk Down to County Level


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NOAA’s National Environmental Information Centers (NCEIs) have released an innovative mapping tool that provides county-level information on natural disaster risk in the United States. This new feature makes significant improvements to state-level data on the NOAA Billion Dollar Disasters website.

Developed by the NCEI with data from NOAA, FEMA, and academic institutions, this interactive NOAA mapping tool provides detailed information about a location’s susceptibility to weather and climate hazards that can lead to disasters. billion dollars, such as forest fires, floods, droughts and heat waves, tornado and hurricane outbreaks. The tool leverages the FEMA National Risk Index to provide a view of a location’s risk and vulnerability for one or more combinations of weather and climate risks for each county and county equivalent within 50 States and the District of Columbia.

“Understanding hazard risks and social vulnerability at the county level is increasingly important in mitigating weather and climate hazards,” said Adam Smith, head of the billion dollar disaster program at the county. NOAA NCEI. “The risk of a location depends on several factors, including population, infrastructure and exposure to natural hazards. Vulnerability reflects a country’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from hazards based on socio-economic factors. This new mapping tool can be a source for homeowners, community planners, emergency managers and other decision makers to help them prepare for and mitigate natural disasters in their community.

This online resource comes at a time when the number and cost of billion dollar disasters in the United States is increasing. In 2020 alone, the country experienced unprecedented climate and weather disasters of $ 22 billion that killed at least 262 people. As of October 8, 2021, the United States had been hit by 18 separate $ 1 billion disasters with total direct losses of $ 104.8 billion, already more costly than in 2020.

“The growing number and cost of billion dollar disasters may be linked to a combination of factors, including increased exposure, social vulnerability and climate change,” said Russell Vose, head of the analysis branch. and climate synthesis from NOAA NCEI. “This new tool will support informed decision making to save lives and protect property across the United States.”

Since 1980, the United States has experienced 308 weather and climate disasters where overall damage / costs have reached or exceeded $ 1 billion. The total cost of these 308 events exceeds $ 2,085 billion, with $ 700 billion in damage over the past five years.

NOAA will continue to develop tools like this to provide authoritative climate and data services to the public. Watch this demo to learn how to navigate this new tool.

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