1. WHAT ARE THE FIRST SCORE® AND COASTAL RISK RAPID ASSESSMENT™ REPORTS?
Coastal Risk’s FIRST Score® and Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment™ reports provide climate impact risk assessments at the parcel level for any coastal property in the US. Our proprietary risk analysis process has now been applied to also model the flood risk of inland properties as well as coastal real estate. The FIRST Score® and the Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment™ apply our state-of-the-art algorithms to analyze large, publicly-available datasets, then generate current and future climate risk assessments for individual properties.
The FIRST Score® report includes three types of flooding (tidal, storm, and heavy rainfall/high groundwater) and identifies governmental risk zones, including FEMA Flood Zone, Wind Zone, Evacuation Zone, and others. The FIRST Score® also calculates the number of non-storm, tidally-influenced flood days predicted for a particular property over the next thirty years (stated in five-year increments), the standard length for a residential property mortgage. To provide this analysis, precise altitudinal information is combined with tide, sea level rise, and land subsidence data, as well as an assessment of other local conditions. The projected flood days produce the FIRST SCORE®, enabling a property owner to assess personal risk and to compare findings with other properties in the area.
The broader Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment Report™ provides detailed aerial photographs and GIS (geographic information system) overlays that visualize tidal and storm flooding over a 30-year period for the customer’s specific property. The Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment™ includes the proprietary FIRST SCORE®, GIS maps with inundation locations and depths, and a LIDAR (light detection and ranging) remote elevation survey map for the specific property.
The Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment™ accelerates the transition from climate education to adaptation action, helping property owners, buyers of real estate and others involved in real estate due diligence decisions, such as insurance and mortgage underwriting, gain easy and rapid access to parcel-specific, coastal climate risk assessments.
The current base flood elevation of your home and yard is important in determining flood insurance, but you also need to know how future climate changes like sea level rise, storm surges and heavy rainfall will affect your property. FEMA floodplain maps alone won’t tell you that. Coastal Risk’s FIRST Score® and Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment™ will help you make better flood-proofing decisions for you and your family.
Coastal Risk provides the only online flood risk technology that helps answer these ten questions for each coastal property:
1. When to expect tidal/sea level rise flooding at the LIDAR/parcel level?
2. How many days per year will the flooding occur? How deep it will get?
3. What is the expected depth of inundation from hurricane storm surge at various tidal stages?
4. Where on the properties will flooding occur?
5. What adaptation/resiliency measures to take?
2. WHY SHOULD I CARE to UNDERSTAND HOW SEA LEVEL RISE AND OTHER COASTAL DYNAMICS WILL AFFECT MY PROPERTY many years into THE FUTURE?
If you could see into the future and, you could know what will happen to your house, your neighborhood, the grocery store parking lot, and the route you travel to work, it would be extremely valuable. In US coastal areas, we are currently experiencing “King” or astronomical high tides. King Tides are the highest high tides of the year, occurring when the sun and moon are in alignment and closer to the Earth. King Tides give us a preview of the future, because the highest tides of today will be the average water levels of the future as sea levels continue to rise due to climate change. Each inch of sea level rise makes it easier for high tides to flood areas that never used to flood, and for storm surges to reach places they previously wouldn’t have. Sea level rise makes tidal flooding (and King Tides) an increasingly common occurrence. As was the case with Superstorm Sandy, which did not even pack hurricane force winds, storms can ride in on top of tides and cause loss of life and billions of dollars in damages.
In cities like Miami Beach, local governments are already spending millions of dollars to pump high-tide sea water off the streets. In Norfolk, VA, individuals are raising their homes and installing flood vents to stop rising tides from cracking their foundations. These are examples of climate change adaptations that are being taken, now, as a result of increased understanding about rising sea levels. Miami Beach and Norfolk know what they have to do, because they are experiencing climate impacts, today.
However, the majority of governments, businesses, and billions of individuals living along coastlines around the world, simply don’t yet have access to climate impact analyses at an appropriate level of granularity in order to make intelligent decisions on the allocation of limited adaptation resources. They need online tools to better understand what a future world will look like in a changing climate. This is why Coastal Risk Consulting, LLC, has developed an online flood score for individual properties using high-resolution elevation data, local tidal gauges, US Army Corps of Engineers models and other publicly-available data (www.floodscores.com).
The Harvard Business Review recently commented on Coastal Risk’s technology: "What will this adaptation look like? The answer varies by location. Companies such as Coastal Risk Consulting are developing flood risk statistical models at the parcel level. Competition in forming accurate forecasts will incentivize such firms to design high-quality, useful forecasts. Real estate investors will have strong incentives to respond to these forecasts."
As a home or business owner, you should be aware that increased and repetitive tidally influenced flooding will increase repair and maintenance costs. These added costs may affect property owners’ ability to repay their mortgage loans and may lower the fair market value of their properties.
3. HOW ACCURATE ARE THE FIRST SCORE® AND THE COASTAL RISK RAPID ASSESSMENT™ ?
Our FIRST SCORE® and Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment™ analyses are based on continually-updated science from well-tested, accurate sources including:
1. LIDAR remote sensing
2. US Army Corps of Engineers’ and NOAA Sea Level Rise Models
3. Aerial photography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
4. Long-term tidal readings from NOAA
5. Tidal data from USGS (United States Geological Survey)
6. Government and peer-reviewed local adjustment factors such as land subsidence, erosion, and groundwater
4. CAN THE FIRST SCORE® and COASTAL RISK RAPID ASSESSMENT™ CHANGE OVER TIME? WILL THE DATABASES AND THE ALGORITHMS BE UPDATED?
Our model, algorithms, and databases are regularly reviewed by our Science Team and outside experts and updated as required. Projections for sea level rise and other data inputs are being evaluated on a continuous basis. Coastal Risk Consulting, LLC experts monitor new data and adjust our algorithms and models with the latest information and scientific tools to provide the most accurate scientific projections for your property, which may change over time.
According to one of Coastal Risk’s external peer-reviewers, a tenured university professor and one of the top climate scientists in the US: “First and foremost, the methodology is unique and scientifically sound. In particular, the use of LIDAR measurements for elevation, United States Army Core of Engineers Sea Level Change Curve Calculator for projections, and nearest tide gage data are all on firm scientific ground. The NOAA SLOSH (Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes) model – maximum of maximums (MOMs) data has been widely used in the scientific community and is fully-recognized as state of the art.”
5. IF I HAVE A HIGH FIRST SCORE® FOR MY PROPERTY, ARE THERE STEPS I CAN TAKE TO MAKE THE PROPERTY CLIMATE READY AND STORM SAFE?
Let’s say you’re a Coastal Risk customer and, like hundreds of others, you’ve purchased a FIRST Score® or Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment™ online (www.floodscores.com). If your flood score was high for tidal/sea level rise, storm surge or heavy rainfall flooding, what should you do? What can you do?
A number of cost-effective measures are available to make your property safer from flooding. But if you have a high flood score and do nothing, you’re at higher risk for flood damages to carpeting, furniture, walls, appliances, lighting, electronics and keepsakes. Mold may soon follow. You could find yourself ripping out drywall to reach soaked insulation, tearing up flooring and replacing electrical systems. No amount of flood insurance can make up for loss of health due to a mold infection.
Be sure to use licensed and insured contractors to make any modifications to your home. Check with your local building department about permit requirements.
#1. Elevate electrical and climate systems
Consider raising switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring above the FIRST Score® flood level in your area. Modify your furnace, water heater and any other anchored indoor equipment so that it sits above your property's flood level and, if possible, not in your basement.
#2. Elevate and anchor outdoor HVAC equipment
Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units and generators should be raised above your FIRST Score® flood level and anchored. Unanchored fuel tanks can break free, and severed supply lines can contaminate surrounding grounds.
#3. Modify water and sewer valves
Storms and rising tides can cause your community’s sewer system to flood with sewage, groundwater and seawater. A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up into your home. Install interior and/or exterior backflow valves. A licensed plumber can install backflow preventers.
#4. Evaluate landscaping for how water flows around your home
A qualified landscaper or landscape architect can help you evaluate the grading or slope of your property. The angle of the ground can direct water to or from your house. It's best if water drains away from your home’s foundation. The Coastal Risk FIRST Score® can help guide you and your professionals to prevent low spots that will collect flood waters over time.
If your street or neighborhood is prone to standing water with seasonal high tides or even after an ordinary rainstorm, contact Coastal Risk for a custom, neighborhood FIRST Score® or a Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment™. If the neighborhood FIRST Score® is high, you may want to speak with your county planning or floodplain managers to discuss installation of flood prevention measures in your area.
#5. Consider Flood Control Products
The wide variety of flood control products on the market includes removable flood doors or barriers that can be placed across breezeways, doors, and garages. Make sure that you thoroughly research any company that you deal with and that they provide warranties on installation. Storm shutters and impact glass have been available for many years and should be considered standard for all properties in the hurricane storm surge zones.
#6. Opt for a major retrofit
If your home has a high FIRST Score®, or if it has already experienced storm or tidal floods (and moving isn't desired or feasible), then you may need to consider raising your home and/or installing flood vents under your home’s foundation.
- Coastal Risk’s FIRST Score® will help you understand how high to raise your home on piers or columns and how that will lower your flood score.
- Foundation flood vents allow water to flow under the building, instead of rising inside or cracking the home’s foundation, as rising tides push groundwater upwards against the foundation.
- Exterior coatings such as water-repellent coatings and other sealing materials applied to your exterior walls and foundation can help keep out floods, groundwater and tidewater.
#7. Last-minute measures as waters rise
- Clear drains, downspouts and gutters.
- Move furniture, rugs, electronics and other valuables to upper floors, or raise them off the ground floor.
- Shut off electricity at the breaker panel.
- Elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks.
- Consider the locations of any household chemicals, paints, fertilizers, herbicides, and oils. Move to higher ground and/or contain them to prevent seepage and contamination.
For futher information or to schedule a consultation, please contact:
844-SEA-RISE (732-7473) ext. 3