Outdated FEMA Flood Maps Don’t Account For Climate Change – NPR

Flooding across the United States is changing in magnitude due to suspected climate change. The drains are not updated enough to take on the type of heavy rainfall that has been occurring and climate scientists think that the rainfall will just get worse. FEMA only updates their flood maps every five years but climate change is moving along faster than that.

Key Takeaways:

  • At this point, the evidence that the increasing floods is climate-related is still tentative, because you need a lot of storm data over many years to identify a trend.
  • Kathy Schaefer, an engineer who spent 10 years drawing those maps at FEMA, says those in use now don’t take into account any rainfall changes that might have started to take place because of climate change.
  • FEMA only updates its insurance flood maps every five years. Climate scientists fear that the weather may be changing faster than that.

“Pinter says floods that occur outside the historical flood plain appear to be happening more often — in Louisiana and elsewhere.”