As climate change makes it more likely that many houses in the U.S. will flood—because of rising sea levels, extreme rainfall, or both—federal flood maps, which are used to determine rates for flood insurance, are out of date. A new report maps out where homes now are most at risk, looking at the chances of properties flooding now and 30 years in the future. By the middle of the century, the damage could cost $32 billion a year.
“Climate is not considered in any way in the current mapping structure for FEMA and how they create insurance,” says Matthew Eby, executive director of First Street Foundation, the nonprofit that created the report. “The program started in 1968, and really kicked off in 1970. Some of the maps that exist are still from the ’70s and ’80s.” The maps also show “special flood hazard” areas, but not the individual risk of a particular home, and because of how the federal program was created, also don’t map some regions of the country—only places that opted in.