In terms of number of lives lost and property damage, flooding is the most common natural hazard. Floods can occur at any time of the year, in any part of the country, and at any time of the day or night. While heavy precipitation is the common cause of flooding, hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common, but often overlooked, causes of flooding.
Over the last 50 years, Americans have seen a 20% increase in the heaviest downpours. With a changing climate, we know that the size of the nation’s floodplains will grow by 40 to 45% over the next 90 years, putting more people in harm’s way.
In the first decade of the new millennium, extreme rainfall events combined with changes in land use have resulted in an increase in floods and an increase in annual average flood losses from $6 billion to $10 billion despite the billions of dollars invested in flood control.
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