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States with the highest risk of flooding

  • States with the highest risk of flooding
    1/ MDay Photography // Shutterstock

    States with the highest risk of flooding

    It’s spring, which means for much of the U.S., it’s flood season. Warnings and watches have been pouring in from across the country, including current ones in Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon, Missouri, and more. And that’s after earlier floods have already devastated communities this season—in Texas, two children and their mother were killed by a flash flood near a usually small creek. Some Iowa towns spent weeks underwater after the Missouri River flooded in March. Meanwhile, West Virginia and Louisiana are still struggling to recover after major floods from more than two years ago.

    While it may seem like almost all of the country is at risk for being plunged underwater at any second, the flooding risk actually varies by state. Stacker wanted to know: which states are most likely to flood? In order to determine a ranking, we harnessed 2011 data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Hazard Layer and the agency’s Designated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) estimates. The National Flood Hazard Layer is a national database used to calculate the percentage of each county in the U.S. that qualifies as an SFHA; SFHA regions have a 1% annual chance of flooding.

    All of the statistics were found through the CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. Stacker first assessed the data provided on the county level, then added up all threatened land within each county to determine how much land was under threat in each state. The resulting ranking shows the states in order, from lowest to highest, of the percentage of each within FEMA’s Designated Special Flood Hazard Area.

    Although we may continually be fighting flooding events—and even more so as the climate continues to change—we are at least able to take some steps forward in predicting and combating them. Scientists are starting to use drones, supercomputers, and sonar to predict where rivers will overflow and to help monitor flood control projects. Generally speaking, we have a glimmer of hope.

    Read on to find out how your state ranks.

    You may also like: Most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

  • #51. Alaska
    2/ CatwalkPhotos // Shutterstock

    #51. Alaska

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 0.5%
    Total flood hazard area: 1,286 square miles (#42 among all states)

  • #50. Wyoming
    3/ Wyoming National Guard // Flickr

    #50. Wyoming

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 1.6%
    Total flood hazard area: 1,462 square miles (#41 among all states)

  • #49. Hawaii
    4/ Uheheu // Shutterstock

    #49. Hawaii

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 1.81%
    Total flood hazard area: 124 square miles (#50 among all states)

  • #48. Idaho
    5/ CatwalkPhotos // Shutterstock

    #48. Idaho

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 1.89%
    Total flood hazard area: 1,589 square miles (#39 among all states)

  • #47. Montana
    6/ Karin Hildebrand Lau // Shutterstock

    #47. Montana

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 1.89%
    Total flood hazard area: 2,485 square miles (#32 among all states)

  • #46. Colorado
    7/ Steve Zumwalt // Wikimedia Commons

    #46. Colorado

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 2.04%
    Total flood hazard area: 1,890 square miles (#38 among all states)

  • #45. Utah
    8/ Kris Wiktor // Shutterstock

    #45. Utah

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 2.72%
    Total flood hazard area: 1,944 square miles (#37 among all states)

  • #44. Nevada
    9/ John Fowler // Flickr

    #44. Nevada

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 2.74%
    Total flood hazard area: 2,981 square miles (#28 among all states)

  • #43. New Mexico
    10/ Jared Tarbell // Wikimedia Commons

    #43. New Mexico

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 2.76%
    Total flood hazard area: 2,966 square miles (#29 among all states)

  • #42. Oregon
    11/ Steve Morgan // Wikimedia Commons

    #42. Oregon

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 3.32%
    Total flood hazard area: 3,231 square miles (#26 among all states)

  • #41. North Dakota
    12/ Patsy Lynch // Wikimedia Commons

    #41. North Dakota

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 3.36%
    Total flood hazard area: 1,993 square miles (#36 among all states)

  • #40. Arizona
    13/ Owen Kelly // Wikimedia Commons

    #40. Arizona

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 3.52%
    Total flood hazard area: 4,014 square miles (#21 among all states)

  • #39. South Dakota
    14/ Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

    #39. South Dakota

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 3.89%
    Total flood hazard area: 2,217 square miles (#34 among all states)

  • #38. West Virginia
    15/ Sgt. Penni Harris // Wikimedia Commons

    #38. West Virginia

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 4.02%
    Total flood hazard area: 975 square miles (#44 among all states)

  • #37. Michigan
    16/ Cmadler // Wikimedia Commons

    #37. Michigan

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 4.67%
    Total flood hazard area: 2,534 square miles (#31 among all states)

  • #36. Washington
    17/ Bdelisle // Wikimedia Commons

    #36. Washington

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 4.73%
    Total flood hazard area: 3,247 square miles (#25 among all states)

  • #35. Pennsylvania
    18/ BONNIE WATTON // Shutterstock

    #35. Pennsylvania

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 5.29%
    Total flood hazard area: 2,398 square miles (#33 among all states)

  • #34. Ohio
    19/ Bryan Busovicki // Shutterstock

    #34. Ohio

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 6.9%
    Total flood hazard area: 2,855 square miles (#30 among all states)

  • #33. California
    20/ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers // Wikimedia Commons

    #33. California

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 7.2%
    Total flood hazard area: 11,434 square miles (#5 among all states)

  • #32. Minnesota
    21/ Andrea Booher // Wikimedia Commons

    #32. Minnesota

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 7.2%
    Total flood hazard area: 5,627 square miles (#16 among all states)

  • #31. Vermont
    22/ HopsonRoad // Wikimedia Commons

    #31. Vermont

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 7.33%
    Total flood hazard area: 705 square miles (#45 among all states)

  • #30. New Hampshire
    23/ Marc N. Belanger // Wikimedia Commons

    #30. New Hampshire

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 7.43%
    Total flood hazard area: 690 square miles (#46 among all states)

  • #29. New York
    24/ FashionStock.com // Shutterstock

    #29. New York

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 7.53%
    Total flood hazard area: 3,715 square miles (#24 among all states)

  • #28. Iowa
    25/ Alan Light // Flickr

    #28. Iowa

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 8.17%
    Total flood hazard area: 4,541 square miles (#18 among all states)

  • #27. Nebraska
    26/ Shelby L. Bell // Flickr

    #27. Nebraska

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 8.88%
    Total flood hazard area: 5,450 square miles (#17 among all states)

  • #26. Maine
    27/ Arthur Villator // Shutterstock

    #26. Maine

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 9.04%
    Total flood hazard area: 3,058 square miles (#27 among all states)

  • #25. Kansas
    28/ zyxwvuu // Flickr

    #25. Kansas

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 9.1%
    Total flood hazard area: 6,487 square miles (#13 among all states)

  • #24. Kentucky
    29/ Christopher Boswell // Shutterstock

    #24. Kentucky

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 9.63%
    Total flood hazard area: 3,879 square miles (#22 among all states)

  • #23. Virginia
    30/ tlindsayg // Shutterstock

    #23. Virginia

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 9.83%
    Total flood hazard area: 4,043 square miles (#20 among all states)

  • #22. Connecticut
    31/ Gina Jacobs // Shutterstock

    #22. Connecticut

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 10.14%
    Total flood hazard area: 511 square miles (#47 among all states)

  • #21. Oklahoma
    32/ Marvin Nauman // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. Oklahoma

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 10.28%
    Total flood hazard area: 7,075 square miles (#11 among all states)

  • #20. Wisconsin
    33/ Walter Jennings // Wikimedia Commons

    #20. Wisconsin

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 10.29%
    Total flood hazard area: 5,746 square miles (#15 among all states)

  • #19. Indiana
    34/ Leo Skinner // Wikimedia Commons

    #19. Indiana

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 10.32%
    Total flood hazard area: 3,737 square miles (#23 among all states)

  • #18. Tennessee
    35/ Kaldari // Wikimedia Commons

    #18. Tennessee

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 10.5%
    Total flood hazard area: 4,424 square miles (#19 among all states)

  • #17. Texas
    36/ SC National Guard // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Texas

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 10.97%
    Total flood hazard area: 27,752 square miles (#1 among all states)

  • #16. Massachusetts
    37/ The Birkes // Wikimedia Commons

    #16. Massachusetts

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 11.77%
    Total flood hazard area: 993 square miles (#43 among all states)

  • #15. Illinois
    38/ welcomia // Shutterstock

    #15. Illinois

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 12.27%
    Total flood hazard area: 6,916 square miles (#12 among all states)

  • #14. Rhode Island
    39/ Olga Enger // Shutterstock

    #14. Rhode Island

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 14.78%
    Total flood hazard area: 172 square miles (#49 among all states)

  • #13. Alabama
    40/ Jens Lambert // Shutterstock

    #13. Alabama

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 14.93%
    Total flood hazard area: 7,736 square miles (#10 among all states)

  • #12. Missouri
    41/ Jocelyn Augustino // Wikimedia Commons

    #12. Missouri

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 15.06%
    Total flood hazard area: 10,415 square miles (#7 among all states)

  • #11. Georgia
    42/ Ya bil zdes // Shutterstock

    #11. Georgia

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 15.19%
    Total flood hazard area: 8,963 square miles (#8 among all states)

  • #10. North Carolina
    43/ VOA // Wikimedia Commons

    #10. North Carolina

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 17.13%
    Total flood hazard area: 8,765 square miles (#9 among all states)

  • #9. District of Columbia
    44/ Bill Chizek // Shutterstock

    #9. District of Columbia

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 17.71%
    Total flood hazard area: 12 square miles (#51 among all states)

  • #8. Delaware
    45/ USFWS // Flickr

    #8. Delaware

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 19.12%
    Total flood hazard area: 391 square miles (#48 among all states)

  • #7. Maryland
    46/ Jccohen // Wikimedia Commons

    #7. Maryland

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 19.17%
    Total flood hazard area: 2,097 square miles (#35 among all states)

  • #6. South Carolina
    47/ USDA // Flickr

    #6. South Carolina

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 19.2%
    Total flood hazard area: 5,993 square miles (#14 among all states)

  • #5. New Jersey
    48/ Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

    #5. New Jersey

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 19.27%
    Total flood hazard area: 1,517 square miles (#40 among all states)

  • #4. Arkansas
    49/ Jocelyn Augustino // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Arkansas

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 22.57%
    Total flood hazard area: 12,051 square miles (#4 among all states)

  • #3. Mississippi
    50/ Joe Ferrer // Shutterstock

    #3. Mississippi

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 23.14%
    Total flood hazard area: 11,068 square miles (#6 among all states)

  • #2. Florida
    51/ Barry Bahler // Wikimedia Commons

    #2. Florida

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 40.08%
    Total flood hazard area: 23,976 square miles (#3 among all states)

  • #1. Louisiana
    52/ Pixabay

    #1. Louisiana

    Percentage of state within flood hazard area: 50.56%
    Total flood hazard area: 24,792 square miles (#2 among all states)

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