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The Role of Hazard and Vulnerability in Modulating Economic Damages of Inland Floods in the United States Using a Survey-Based Dataset

School of Civil and Transportation Engineering, Guangdong University of Technology, No.100 Waihuan Xi Road, Guangzhou 510006, China
Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3754;
Received: 11 June 2019 / Revised: 1 July 2019 / Accepted: 2 July 2019 / Published: 9 July 2019
PDF [2740 KB, uploaded 10 July 2019]


This study investigates the trends in economic damages caused by three types of inland floods (flash flood, flood, and heavy rain) in the United States and the variations in related hazard and vulnerability indicators between 1996 and 2016. We explore the underlying mechanisms based on a survey-based dataset maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service. An annual average of 6518 flood occurrences was reported, which caused economic damages of 3351 million USD per year. Flash flood and flood contributed to 53% and 32% of total occurrences and was associated with a larger share of damaging events (SDE). Results show that the higher impacts by flood and flash flood on property and crop are partly attributed to the greater intensity of rainfall. In addition, flood has the highest unit cost of damages. Notably, despite an upward tendency in economic damages by flash floods, no evident change trend is observed for inland floods as a whole. Further analysis shows changes in economic damages by heavy rain and flash flood are mainly governed by the increased annual frequency and hazard intensity, but the change of trend in their vulnerability indicators (i.e., SDE and Damage Per Event (DPE)) is not obvious. Regarding floods, it was not possible to attribute the variations in economic losses to hazard and vulnerability, as no significant tendency is found except for an increasing SDE. Despite limitations of length of records, data collection, and methodology, the difference in economic impacts and the related hazard and vulnerability revealed in this study can help better target future adaptation and mitigation measures. View Full-Text
Keywords: economic damages; hazard; vulnerability; flash flood; flood; heavy rain economic damages; hazard; vulnerability; flash flood; flood; heavy rain

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Zhou, Q.; Su, J.; Leng, G.; Peng, J. The Role of Hazard and Vulnerability in Modulating Economic Damages of Inland Floods in the United States Using a Survey-Based Dataset. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3754.

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