Jeff Masters Hurricane Blog

Free tool helps Gulf Coast residents identify potential risks to their homes » Yale Climate Connections

Sandy beaches and warm weather have long attracted people to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. But rising seas and extreme weather put many homes there at risk.

To help residents in the region understand the threats to specific properties, researchers have created a free online tool called HazardAware.

“It’s a website that people can come to and learn about what hazards their home or prospective home — or their apartment — what hazards they face, and more importantly, what they can do to mitigate those hazards,” says Chris Emrich of the University of Central Florida.

Emrich was part of the team that created the tool. He says users enter an address and receive what’s called a “hazard ready” score. A lower number indicates risk, while a higher number indicates resilience.

The score is based on whether the home is in a flood plain, if it was built using the most up-to-date building codes, and other publicly available information.

Then the tool suggests ways to protect the property — for example by installing sewer backflow valves or raising electrical components above potential floodwaters.

“The hope is … that we move the needle on resilience,” Emrich says — so people are better prepared for the growing risks of flooding and extreme weather.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media

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