Mississippi earns F on America's Preparedness report card

Mississippi earns F on America's Preparedness report card

MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - A new report released has revealed that Mississippi is unprepared to face significant and increasing risks of extreme weather.

Mississippi received an overall F grade for States at Risk: America's Preparedness Report Card,prepared by the States at Risk Project,the first-ever quantitative assessment of its kind designed to help provide a benchmark for states to assess risks and build and implement action plans to increase their preparedness levels, according to a press release issued by statesatrisk.com.

Key findings related to the risks Mississippi faces from extreme heat, drought, wildfires and coastal flooding include:

  • Currently, Mississippi averages 25 days a year classified as dangerous or extremely dangerous, according to the NWS Heat Index. By 2050, Mississippi is projected to see this quadruple to 100 such days annually.
  • Currently, Mississippi’s severity of widespread summer drought is average, and it is ranked in the bottom third of states among the 36 states assessed for drought risks.
  • Nearly 1.7 million people in Mississippi, more than 60 percent of the state’s population (above average), live within the wildland-urban interface, where developed and wild lands converge and intersperse, and vulnerability to wildfire is elevated.
  • Currently, Mississippi has approximately 75,000 people at risk of a 100-year coastal flood.

The report finds that very few states have taken sufficient action to prepare for future threats. Though most states are reasonably prepared for the threats they face today, levels of preparedness vary greatly by state and by threat, according to the release. The annual number of disasters costing more than $1 billion has nearly tripled from less than three to more than eight a year.

According tot he report, the cost of recovery from these events is much higher than investing in preparedness before they happen: between 2011 and 2013, the federal government spent $136 billion – or almost $400 in taxes from each American househould each year – on disaster relief.

Key national findings include:

States are least prepared for extreme heat risk. All states in the continental U.S. face this threat, but only 14 percent are taking strong action to prepare.

States are more prepared for coastal flooding than any other risk, but still only half of all coastal states are taking strong action to prepare for this risk.

More than half of all states assessed have taken no action to plan for future climate-related inland flooding risks or taken action to address them.

Only a small group of states – Alaska, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania – has taken strong action to prepare for future risks across the threats they face, including assessing future climate vulnerabilities and designing and implementing plans to address them.

According to the news release, extreme weather has taken a significant toll on our state.

To see how other states ranked, click here.

To see the data for Mississippi, click here.