Study Shows That Flood Risks in the Northern U.S. are Growing

According to a study reported in the Insurance Journal, certain regions of the United States are seeing greater flood risks. Data from the University of Iowa indicates that flood threats are increasing in the northern U.S., including New England, but decreasing in the West and Southwest.
To reach these findings, researchers examined water-height data for 2,042 stream gauges from 1985 to 2015. These figures were compared to 12 years of satellite information gathered by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) for basin wetness, the measure of water stored in the ground.
Over this period, data shows that Northern states have more water stored in the ground, which increases the region’s risk for minor to moderate flooding. In Connecticut specifically, the increase is measured at one to three centimeters per year.
What’s the reason for this change? A study published last year shows that the Midwest and Plains have seen more frequent and heavier rainfalls over the past 50 years, which lead to more ground water. At the same time, the Southwest and West have seen an extended drought, which decreases the amount of water stored in the ground. In general, the researchers in this study chalk up the shifts to overall regional climate changes.
“The river basins have a memory,” said engineer Louise Slater in a statement to the press. “So, if a river basin is getting wetter, in the Midwest for example, your flood risk is also probably increasing because there’s more water in the system.”
What does this data mean for your insurance? Even if you live or operate a business in an area without a high flood risk, greater rainfall can lead to flood damage. While property insurance covers some natural disasters, floods aren’t included. A separate policy may become essential for recovering your building and its contents. To learn more about flood insurance for various Connecticut towns, give us a call at 203.439.2815.