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Rain Studies Show Dramatic Flood Risk for Unprepared US

Law360 Insurance Authority

Two recent reports analyzing the rising threat of extreme precipitation have helped emphasize the need for climate and flood resiliency plans that aren't based on outdated risk estimates, according to climate scientists and policy experts.


The First Street report, published Monday, showed that over half of Americans live in counties that could be susceptible to failed stormwater management systems in the event of heavy rainfall. Despite the rain and flood risk identified in places like Texas, Louisiana, Montana and Idaho, those states were generally skipped over in 2020 for federal resilience grants provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to Headwaters Economics, highlighting a gap in risk and federal funding.

Alan Rubin, a lobbyist and member of Blank Rome LLP's Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Team who has helped develop stormwater systems in New Jersey, said designers of the most effective storm systems account for drainage patterns, local foliage that could block the flow of runoff and how to separate pollutants from water.

He also praised the First Street report as a critical source of information.

"One of the things that we have to do is use the scientific vehicles, the scientific gauging, that we have so that we're not in a position where we're looking at one group of data and weighing it against another," Rubin told Law360. "You have to consider climate change along with all the other scientific data."

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"Rain Studies Show Dramatic Flood Risk for Unprepared US," by Eli Flesch was published in Law360 Insurance Authority on June 30, 2023.