Natural Disasters

FEMA to overhaul disaster aid to better help those most in need

The changes would address “the inequitable distribution of benefits” and help more low-income and homeless people.

FEMA to overhaul its disaster aid system after decades of criticism

The agency will offer upfront cash payments to disaster survivors and slash some of its infamous red tape.

Extreme weather cost $80 billion this year. The true price is far higher.

The U.S. saw 25 billion-dollar weather disasters this year—more than ever before. Next year could be worse.

LGBTQ+ people are nearly twice as likely to be displaced after disasters, new research shows

For the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau has collected national data on sexual orientation and gender identity related to disaster displacement.

Why tenants struggle more in the wake of hurricanes

Eviction filings and threats of eviction tend to increase after hurricanes, which experts say could be fueling housing instability and displacement in the wake of disasters.

How does climate change threaten where you live? A region-by-region guide.

The U.S. government's most comprehensive report on the effects of climate change details challenges for every part of the country.

New flood model factors in human reactions

A new open-source flood risk model assesses communities' adaptive responses to flood events, which can help local governments prepare for flood intervention measures like altering development plans or elevating buildings.

How California and Florida are trying to stave off the home insurance crisis

Historically, the two states have had very different approaches to insuring against natural disasters. That’s changing.

FEMA is being sued for making flood insurance too expensive—and too cheap

The price isn't right, according to two lawsuits against the federal agency. The suits, one of which was brought by Louisiana and Republican state AGs, claim that high insurance rates could put residents at risk of economic ruin, but low rates do little to stop developments on at-risk land.

Biden administration warns of risks to air and rail safety if government shuts down

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also said that a shutdown and proposed GOP cuts could affect efforts to fight the fentanyl epidemic, as well as disaster relief operations.

Crunch time in Congress could hit state and local programs

The legislative logjam on Capitol Hill is backing up everything from child care to disaster funding. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.

How data models may shape the future of wildfire response

Data models that integrate wildfire spread and vehicle and pedestrian evacuation routes can help responder agencies get residents to safety before an incoming wildfire becomes too much to manage.

How to get federal disaster aid: FEMA is running out of money, but these strategies can help survivors of Hurricane Idalia and the Maui fires get aid faster

COMMENTARY | After a natural disaster strikes a community, determining and documenting the extent of damage to homes and property is a crucial step in receiving financial aid to recover.

Treasury expands the uses of ARPA funding

Under interim rules, the federal agency would allow state and local governments to spend coronavirus relief money on natural disasters, additional transportation projects and housing, among other uses.

Early detection helps states control invasive species before it’s too late

By leveraging innovative detection and monitoring tools, state and local land managers can get ahead of the environmental and fiscal consequences of the aggressive spread of non-native plants.

Regional partnerships can bring a refreshing solution to aging water infrastructure

When legacy water systems lack adequate data collection and monitoring capabilities, communities face an uphill battle delivering clean, safe water to residents.

Flood management gets a boost from drones

As major flooding events are expected to become more common, drones could help communities keep resilience up and damage down.

Outdated flood data could drown out actual infrastructure needs

Historical data fails to capture current flooding conditions, which could steer communities in the wrong direction when trying to plan and recover from weather events.

When homes flood, who retreats and to where?

COMMENTARY | Two disaster response experts mapped thousands of FEMA buyouts and found distance and race play a role.

Preparing for a Future of Supercharged Storms

COMMENTARY | Thanks to the infrastructure law, community-driven resilience projects in Black and Brown neighborhoods that have been hit hard by past storms are finally being funded. It is essential that government leaders continue to prioritize these frontline areas.