Story at a glance
- FEMA found Los Angeles as the most risky county for natural disasters in the U.S.
- Tornadoes, wildfires and flooding were some of the instances taken into account.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced in December that it developed a new dashboard that would analyze different risk factors for different locations across the U.S.
Risk factors taken into account on this software, dubbed the National Risk Index, are composed of 18 natural hazards, including avalanches, droughts, earthquakes, wildfires and other natural disasters. The index is then intended to help Americans update emergency plans, natural disaster mitigation, and recovery efforts.
When calculating the risk score for each U.S. county, FEMA found that Los Angeles County is the community with the most risk in the nation.
Some of the natural disasters that went into this analysis include landslides, wildfires and lightning strikes — each of which stand to create billions of dollars worth of damage.
Following Los Angeles, New York City’s Bronx, New York and Kings Counties, as well as Miami, Philadelphia, Dallas, St. Louis, and Riverside and San Bernardino Counties also made the list of FEMA’s top 10 riskiest counties, the Associated Press reports.
Part of the calculations that determine which counties are at the highest risk look at the possibility of disaster versus the severity of a disaster actually occurring. Tornadoes are cited as an example, which, while frequent in Midwest states like Oklahoma and Kansas, could be significantly more detrimental in a place like New York City with more damage exposure and less preparedness.
“They (the top five) are a low frequency, potentially high-consequence event because there’s a lot of property exposure in that area,” Susan Cutter, the University of South Carolina Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute Director, told reporters.“Therefore, a small tornado can create a large dollar loss.”
Among the lowest-risk areas, Virginia’s Loudoun County, a suburb of Washington D.C., had the lowest disaster score relative to any other county in the U.S.