Growing Flood Threat to US Infrastructure: First Street

A new report “The 3rd National Risk Assessment: Infrastructure on the Brink”, found that there is a growing risk of flooding and major disruptions to U.S. infrastructure.

The report produced by the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based First Street Foundation found:

Over the next 30 years, “due to the impacts of climate change, an additional 1.2 million residential properties, 66,000 commercial properties, 63,000 miles of roads, 6,100 pieces of social infrastructure (schools, churches, government buildings, etc.) and 2,000 pieces of critical infrastructure (ports, fire stations, etc.) will also have flood risk that would render them inoperable, inaccessible, or impassable.”

Roughly 25%, or 1 in 4 of all critical infrastructure in the country are at risk of becoming inoperable, which represents roughly 36,000 facilities.

In addition, “23% of all road segments in the country (nearly 2 million miles of road), are at risk of becoming impassable.”

Additionally, 20% of all commercial properties (919,000), 17% of all social infrastructure facilities (72,000), and 14% of all residential properties (12.4 million) also have operational risk.

The highest concentration of community risk exists in Louisiana, Florida, Kentucky, and West Virginia, with 17 of the top 20 most at-risk counties in the U.S. (85%).

Louisiana accounts for 6 of the top 20 most at-risk counties (30%) and is home to the most at-risk county in the country, Cameron Parish.

In the United States, “many infrastructure discussions over the past 20 years have been centered around possible physical attacks, energy crises, and terrorism, but climate change has a higher probability of significant impact on the Nation’s infrastructure.”

More recently the report said: “the impact of Hurricane Ida stretched across the country crippling the electrical grid in southern Louisiana, flooding the transportation infrastructure in the NYC (New York City) metro area, and killing nearly 100 people. It is clear, now more than ever, that the ways and places in which we live are likely to continue to be impacted by our changing environment. One of the most important implications in this development is the vulnerability of our national infrastructure.”

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