Abstract

Extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and severe coastal storms, occur frequently in predictable locations. These extreme events become disasters only when they intersect with concentrations of human population and development. State governments whose coastlines are vulnerable to hurricanes and coastal storms can create programs to reduce the exposure of people and property to such hazards. Such mitigation programs include mapping hazard areas, notifying the public about potential hazard locations, restricting public subsidies that encourage development in hazard areas, and acquiring property in hazard areas to prevent its development. A number of states operate such programs, including Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Texas. This article reviews current state coastal hazard mitigation programs to identify “best practices” and to recommend a comprehensive package of mitigation actions to reduce exposure to hazards.

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