North Carolina Receives B+ for Level of Severe Weather Readiness

RALEIGH, N.C. - A new report released on Tuesday reveals North Carolina is relatively well prepared to face the significant and increasing risks posed by changing levels of extreme weather, including extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding and coastal flooding.

The state received an overall B+ grade for States at Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card, the first-ever quantitative assessment of its kind prepared by the States at Risk Project, a collaboration of ICF International and Climate Central. The report is designed to help provide a benchmark for states to assess risks as well as build and implement action plans to increase their preparedness levels.

States at Risk measures risk and examines preparedness actions for threats each state faces.

Score breakdown:

• Extreme heat: B+
• Drought: B+
• Wildfires: A-
• Inland flooding: B-
• Coastal flooding threats: C

North Carolina is one of only six states that faces a significant increasing threat in all five areas.

“If we're facing future flooding, future wildfire risks which we will, it's good to know what we can do in North Carolina to protect our public and keep insurance as affordable as possible.  Reports like this if listened to and followed and learned from can help us prepare North Carolina while addressing insurance gaps,” said Wayne Goodwin, North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance.

Currently, there are about 10 days a year when North Carolina falls into the extreme heat category.  That number is expected to jump to about 60 extreme days per year by 2050.

Experts say, despite all the rain we’ve seen this year, the threat of drought is always a possibility.

“It's a threat we're going to have to deal with one way or another.  Things can change relatively quickly.  Here [in North Carolina] if we have a period of three of four months with little rainfall even if it follows a period with a substantial amount of rain we can be in a diffucult position,” said Greg Characklis, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering for UNC Chapel Hill.

The report card is a measure that’s all about understanding where the state stands in it’s level of readiness and the areas that need improvement.

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