Is the Washington region prepared for storms like Hurricane Florence?

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Jurisdictions are trying to plan for destructive weather

Regular flooding in places like Ellicott City, in Old Town Alexandria, in Rock Creek Park, and elsewhere around the region are a constant reminder of how vulnerable the region is to hurricanes and other storms.

Buildings damaged in the 2016 Ellicott City flood by Preservation Maryland licensed under Creative Commons.

Not all residents are equally prepared to deal with storms

Lower-income communities tend to be affected most harshly by destructive weather, but good two-way communication between residents and governments can help more people stay safe. That communication is also vital for creating plans that are useful to all communities.

Screenshot of the Maryland Evacuation Lookup tool.

Good transit is an important factor in disaster-preparedness

One major option to improve outcomes for marginalized communities during disasters and evacuations is better access to transportation, SAMHSA notes, pointing to a paper looking at New Orleans by Michel Masozera, Melissa Bailey, and Charles Kerchner. Since many residents in New Orleans (and also in our region) don’t own cars, investment in transit — including buses and light rail — is vital.

What you should do in a dangerous weather situation

With different plans of action across the region, figuring out what to do when a massive storm is bearing down can be daunting. What should residents and visitors do?

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A changing climate means a changing society. The Island Press Urban Resilience Project (URP) is committed to a greener, fairer future. www.islandpress.org/URP