2017 Hurricane Season Spotlight Series

2017 Hurricane Season Spotlight Series
Flooded neighborhood in Houston.

A Houston neighborhood in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Lawmakers must make strategic policy reforms to help Americans prepare for and rebuild after future storms.

Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times

With the unprecedented rain that Hurricane Harvey unleashed across Houston and other communities, it is clear that the storm will go down as one of the most destructive to strike the United States. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Irma became the most powerful Atlantic storm ever witnessed, followed swiftly by Maria. And now, Congress has no more important task than to help affected communities recover. But to give all Americans a chance to adequately prepare for and rebuild after future storms, lawmakers must make strategic reforms.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Hurricane Spotlight series recommends how the federal government can improve policy in four areas:

Congress must consider lessons from recent hurricanes as it attempts to put NFIP on a financially solvent path; revitalize American infrastructure; and set sound policies to avoid future catastrophes.

As deadly and costly as these storms have been, they also offer opportunities for improvements. If the federal government takes the steps outlined in this series, it can help vulnerable communities become more resilient to the impacts of severe weather.

Additional Resources


The Financial Toll of Flooding—Part 1

Episode 8

Quick View

It’s hurricane season—and extreme weather events are on the rise. Along with the catastrophic losses that families face after the flood is the economic burden on taxpayers through the National Flood Insurance Program. It’s the financial lifeline for those who carry flood insurance and an essential funding source for both disaster preparation and recovery efforts. However, the program is also $25 billion in debt, and more than a quarter of that total is from properties that flood repeatedly. It’s a growing issue affecting more than just coastal cities.