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Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 2;7:41609. doi: 10.1038/srep41609.

Assessing Current and Future Freshwater Flood Risk from North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones via Insurance Claims.

Author information

1
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 3730 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
2
Willis Research Network, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ, UK.
3
IIHR-Hydroscience &Engineering, The University of Iowa, 100 C Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Laboratory, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.

Abstract

The most recent decades have witnessed record breaking losses associated with U.S. landfalling tropical cyclones (TCs). Flood-related damages represent a large portion of these losses, and although storm surge is typically the main focus in the media and of warnings, much of the TC flood losses are instead freshwater-driven, often extending far inland from the landfall locations. Despite this actuality, knowledge of TC freshwater flood risk is still limited. Here we provide for the first time a comprehensive assessment of the TC freshwater flood risk from the full set of all significant flood events associated with U.S. landfalling TCs from 2001 to 2014. We find that the areas impacted by freshwater flooding are nearly equally divided between coastal and inland areas. We determine the statistical relationship between physical hazard and residential economic impact at a community level for the entire country. These results allow us to assess the potential future changes in TC freshwater flood risk due to changing climate pattern and urbanization in a more heavily populated U.S. Findings have important implications for flood risk management, insurance and resilience.

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