Figure 1 in this fact sheet has been updated to show that the flood damage amounts are in millions of dollars. In Figure 2, the notes have been updated to clarify how “potential losses” are calculated.
Floods and storms are becoming more intense in Wisconsin, with floods occurring every two weeks, on average, and causing over $72 million in property loss annually.1 According to the Wisconsin Emergency Management Division, flood damage tends to be the most widespread disaster in the state.2 As these events become more serious, the physical and economic damage to communities and the threats to human lives and ecosystems also increase. Between 2000 and 2015, 12 federal disasters and emergencies were declared for floods and severe storms in Wisconsin, which exceeded $274 million in total assistance from the U.S. government.3
Seventeen communities in Wisconsin participate in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System. The voluntary program provides reduced insurance premiums in communities that proactively implement flood plain management practices—such as acquisition and relocation of flood-prone structures, elevation of structures, and flood proofing—that exceed the program’s minimum requirements.4 The highest-rated communities in the state are Elm Grove and Kenosha County, which each earned 25 percent discounts for eligible properties.5
Communities must prepare for weather-related catastrophes such as floods and hurricanes, and U.S. policymakers should consider reforms that improve protection and preparation; minimize disruptions to the economy; and reduce costs to the federal government and taxpayers by: