Flooding in Texas – Is Your State Next? How to Cover Inland Flood Risk

IN THE NEWS: The torrential downpours that have swollen rivers in Texas in recent days, taking at least six lives, and heavy rains that inundated Houston earlier in April, costing eight lives and forcing the evacuation of thousands, are harbingers of rising inland flood risk, not just in Texas and the Southwest, but through the country.

BACKSTORY: Experts in a federal study warn extreme rain is increasing nationally, especially in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains, and that flooding may intensify in many regions of the country. Flash floods and urban flooding linked to heavy rain are also expected to increase.

ADAPTATION ANGLE: But many states aren’t prepared for the rising risk. According to an analysis of more than 30 states, half have taken no action to plan for future changes in inland flooding risks or implemented strategies to address them. Among those receiving especially poor grades are Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.


  • What’s the risk in your region, and how well are authorities prepared?
  • What early warning systems are in place, including for inundated roads where most of the fatalities in Texas have taken place?
  • How well is your area prepared for the power outages, transportation problems and other impacts that can come with flooding?
  • What are the risks to other infrastructure, such as water treatment facilities?
  • What are the risks of local flood waters carrying toxins or other health hazards?
  • What procedures are in place for local dams to help with flood control?
  • How well are emergency responders prepared for floods and flood rescues?
  • What can residents do to better prepare and be safe during floods?
  • Are rising flood insurance costs an issue locally?

REPORTING RESOURCES: Dig deeper on the flood risk and response story using the more than three dozen flood-related resources in the database of the Reporter’s Guide to Climate Adaptation:

Posted by A. Adam Glenn on June 6, 2016