When you’re a company owner there is plenty to think about. From your product or service to your employees and payroll, supply chain, and training programs — there’s always a lot on your mind. One issue that should be on your mind is how you’ll protect your building and equipment in the case of a flooding disaster. This calls for company climate risk assessment.
The problem is, most business owners don’t think about flooding until it’s too late. Because of climate-related weather, properties once with only a limited chance of flooding now are in serious danger. Don’t wait until after a flood happens. Be proactive now. This article will help your company assess its risk and identify your business properties with the highest chance of flooding.
Are Floods Really That Common?
Floods don’t always get as much attention as tornadoes or other severe weather events, but floods are the most common and deadly natural disaster. To compound the issue, flood plains are expected to grow by almost 50% in the next 80 years. These numbers should grab your attention. It’s time to start making sure your company is prepared for the next flood.
Does My Company Really Need To Worry About Climate Change?
There is no more denying it, climate change is happening and at a rate faster than scientists ever predicted. Satellite assessments from space show the ice caps on the North Pole, Antarctica, and Greenland shrinking and glaciers retreating in all major mountain ranges. In fact, the Earth’s temperature is rising ten times faster than in any other time in its history. Not only that, the five hottest years in Earth’s history have occurred since 2010.
So what does this have to do with flooding risks? The continued elimination of ice caps and glaciers has pushed the sea level up eight inches in the past century. It’s also causing storms and rainfall incidents to grow in strength, too. You only look back at the last few hurricane seasons to see how strong storms are becoming.
Are There Different Types Of Flooding?
Remember, anywhere it rains, floods are possible. The major types of flooding include:
Flash floods are extremely dangerous because they often occur with no warning. These happen when water sweeps across what is normally dry land. Even just a few inches of flash flood water can cause devastating damage. They occur for many reasons, but most often after heavy rainfall during a storm or when a dam or levee breaks.
River flooding occurs when a river overflows its banks pushing water on to otherwise dry land. It usually occurs after heavy storm rainfall or rapid snowmelt, but can also happen from a rain incident miles away. Properties built near rivers, canals, or low land near a river are particularly at risk.
Coastal flooding is also known as storm surge. This happens with a tropical storm or hurricane’s winds push ocean water on to shore farther than it normally would. All properties located on or near the coast are at imminent risk.
Tidal flooding occurs due to sea-level changes. Because the ocean is rising, tides are reaching new heights, too. Tidal flooding is impacting many cities near the coast and will only get worse as sea levels continue to rise.
All types of floods can happen in an urban environment. But urban areas are particularly at risk of runoff flash floods. When a specific area densely develops concrete surfaces allow water no place in which to drain. Even if your company is in the middle of a downtown business district far from water sources, you still are at risk.
How Can My Company Learn Which Buildings Are At Most Risk Of Flooding?
There are a couple of ways your company can identify the properties with the highest chance of flooding:
FEMA maps are flood risk maps made by the government. The problem with these maps is an estimated 60% of them are out of date. If you are relying on your flooding information from FEMA maps alone, it puts your company at risk. Often, properties in areas FEMA deems safe will flood three or four times before the FEMA map is updated. Furthermore, FEMA flood risk maps don’t account for heavy rainfall flooding or take rising sea levels into consideration.
Flood and Climate Risk Assessment
Technologically superior to the FEMA flood maps, a Flood and Climate Risk Assessment offers superior flood risk data. These maps are detailed to your company’s specific building locations, pinpointing which buildings are at the highest risk. These maps differ from the FEMA maps because they not only include storm surge data, but heavy rainfall, tidal flooding, and take into account future rises in sea level, too. Not only that, the Flood and Climate Risk Assessment has the most accurate elevation data.
This assessment also suggests different flood defense systems will work best for your property, making it ideal for finding ways to protect your company and all of its assets.
The climate is causing drastic changes in the weather, greatly increasing the risk of all types of flooding. Make sure your company knows its true flooding risk on an individual building level. Don’t wait until after a flood has destroyed your bottom-line.