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FEMA Weather Tool Shows Risk of Weather Disasters Across the US

Ever wonder if where you live is at high risk for a weather disaster? FEMA has put together an interactive online tool called “The National Risk Index,” which reveals the risk for 18 natural hazards in each county of the US.

FEMA tool helps you see if you live in a high risk area for weather disasters

FEMA has released an interactive online tool that allows Americans to evaluate the risk of a weather disaster anywhere in the country. The tool is called The National Risk Index.

The tool looks at the risk in every county in the United States. It assesses the dangers for  18 natural hazards including earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis and even winter weather, AccuWeather reported.

This interactive weather tool was put together and provided free online for Americans to use by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The results are based on calculations by 80 experts, using six years of data. The tool first went online in November 2020.

You can access the tool here: The National Risk Index.

What areas in the US are most at risk?

The FEMA map highlights different counties in the US and color-codes them by risk level.

A large swath of the Los Angeles and surrounding areas are colored red or orange due to dangers such as wildfires and earthquakes. In fact, all of Southern California is colored red or orange. Ditto that for much of the San Francisco area and surrounding communities.

Another orange- and red -colored area is most of Florida, with its high risk of hurricanes.

Surprisingly, there are some urban areas that rank higher for the risk of tornadoes than well-known places sitting in the heart of Tornado Alley. For example, Philadelphia and New York City rank higher for tornado threat than places in Oklahoma and Kansas.

This new tool can also help you explore your risks if you work outdoors or have a lengthy commute to work.

Personal injuries lawyers would also be wise to use this tool. High-risk weather means more accidents, thus, more business for those who specialize in helping victims. It could give injury lawyers a leg up on the most lucrative areas to set up shop.

What the risk factors consider

The reason for places like New York receiving a higher tornado risk then Kansas is the way in which the tool ranks an area. One thing the index considers is the overall scope of a particular disaster and how big of an impact it could make on a community. Although places like Kansas are twice as likely as New York City to be struck by tornadoes, the impact of a twister on the Big Apple would cause much more damage. Comparing New York to active tornado areas in Oklahoma, are twenty times the number of people, as well as nearly 20 times the property value at risk. Therefore, a small tornado could create huge losses in those areas.

In 2020, the Atlantic hurricane season was the most active on record, with 30 named storms. According to the NOAA, year also saw numerous billion-dollar disasters striking the US, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. For example, this year’s derecho (or severe thunderstorm) spanned 800-miles and only 14 hours and caused billions in damages, making it the most costly thunderstorm in US history.

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