California Flood Insurance Hurts Everyone

California is considering adopting its own flood insurance scheme, according to this news report: California Considers Ditching Federal Flood Insurance For State-Run Program SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California is overpaying for flood insurance, according to a report from a UC Davis research group. And now the Department of Water Resources is considering a state-run flood insurance program that could save billions of dollars. “I was afraid to add it up. Apparently, California residents have paid more than $3B more into the program than those residents have received since the NFIP started. So the plan is to exit the NFIP statewide, and

Learn How to Manage a Basement Flood

Geoff Williams writes in the U.S. News and World Report about how to manage a basement flood and in this article, I talk about insurance, and how your basement can flood after a fire. Head over to U.S. News to read more.1 Also, Geoff wrote a book on the great flood of 1913, which affected huge swaths of the Eastern United States, including along the Miami River, where I grew up. His book, Washed Away, is available on Amazon. Image by Alec Perkins / Flickr. Why does U.S. News return 403 to some browsers, blocking embedded links? ↩

The Severity of Severe Events is Increasing

On Thursday night, Mary Catherine Cochran, executive director of the Patapsco Heritage Greenway, asked some very insightful questions about my analysis of flooding in Ellicott City: These questions are worth going into some detail, so let me now discuss what it means that the data is changing. Data is considered to be stationary if it is random and if the characteristics from randomness, such as mean and variance, do not change over time. You can kind of think of this like a bus schedule. Sometimes the bus comes on time. Sometimes it is late. Sometimes, it is even early. However,

What is a 100-year flood?

Last night, Mary Catherine Cochran, executive director of the Patapsco Heritage Greenway, asked some very insightful questions about my analysis of flooding in Ellicott City: These questions are worth going into some detail, so let me begin by discussing first, how I account for changing statistics. The answer is, I don’t, but that doesn’t matter. The how is interesting, but the why is critical to understanding both severe storms and rare events. There’s a common misconception that the “100-year flood” is what happens whenever any flood event happens. You often hear any flood described as a 100-year flood, but that’s

Statistical Likelihood of Extreme Events and the Ellicott City Floods

This time, the flood hit close to home, literally. Over the last week, Ellicott City has responded after a very bad storm dropped nearly six inches of rain in only two hours. The recovery effort will be long and difficult, but the Ellicott City Partnership has done a remarkable job coordinating resources for both immediate and long term needs. The storm and its effects were severe and Ellicott City will require strong leadership, going forward. However, there’s been some accusations and finger pointing, about who may be responsible for inflicting what damage. The evidence given is usually the gross severity