Nearly 70% more properties in the United States are at risk of flooding than official government estimates suggest. A new model by First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research and technology firm, shows that a total of 14.6 million properties across the country are at substantial risk — 5.9 million of these properties are unaware of, or underestimating, the risk. FEMA only classifies 8.7 million properties with substantial flood risk.
The model predicts that large swaths of the Midwest and inland Western are at risk of flooding; however, the risk is greatest for coastal states. West Virginia, Louisiana, Florida, Idaho and Montana are showing the greatest proportion of properties categorized as substantial risk.
Data for the model includes areas that FEMA does not, as well as current and future climate risks which helps predict how flood risk will change over the next 30 years. By 2050, the nonprofit predicts the number of properties with substantial risk across the U.S. will increase by 11% to 16.2 million.