Millions Of U.S. Homes Face An Expensive Flooding Threat : Short Wave More than 4 million U.S. homes face substantial risk of expensive flood damage, according to new research. On top of that, NPR climate reporter Rebecca Hersher found that communities where flood insurance is already unaffordable face potentially catastrophic damage — including to mental and physical health.

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Millions Of U.S. Homes Face An Expensive Flooding Threat

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Millions Of U.S. Homes Face An Expensive Flooding Threat

Millions Of U.S. Homes Face An Expensive Flooding Threat

Millions Of U.S. Homes Face An Expensive Flooding Threat

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/973956492/974265044" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Rainelle, W.Va., flooded in June 2016. Research has found that disasters can erode family stability and exacerbate mental and physical ailments when people don't have the money they need to repair their homes. Ryan Kellman/NPR hide caption

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Ryan Kellman/NPR

Rainelle, W.Va., flooded in June 2016. Research has found that disasters can erode family stability and exacerbate mental and physical ailments when people don't have the money they need to repair their homes.

Ryan Kellman/NPR

Sea level rise and heavier rainstorms driven by global warming are sending more water into residential neighborhoods from the Gulf Coast to New England to Appalachia to the Pacific Northwest. New data make it clear that many households and communities cannot afford the mounting costs.

The cost of flood damage to homes nationwide will increase by more than 50 percent in the next 30 years, according to data released by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research organization that studies flood risk and housing. The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to start raising rates for homeowners who are currently underpaying for flood insurance later in 2021.

Poorer people stand to lose the most to flooding as the climate changes. Research has found that disasters can erode family stability and exacerbate mental and physical ailments when people don't have the money they need to repair their homes.

Additional reporting from Rebecca Hersher:

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Rebecca Ramirez, edited by Gisele Grayson and fact-checked by Rasha Aridi. Patrick Murray was the audio engineer.