Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle - Center for ...

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Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle - Center for ...

Well into 2012, many families who lost their homes during Lee were still strugglingwith housing, according to Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY). In response,she proposed a low-income housing tax credit similar to the one enacted afterHurricane Katrina in 2005. 88 Volunteers in July 2012 cited more than 39 homes inYork County, Pennsylvania, alone that still needed to be repaired after Lee. 89In the wake of the storm, the New York State Energy Research and DevelopmentAuthority released a report stating, “Minorities and low-income residents tend tolive in areas vulnerable to flooding in New York City and upstate. … rural residentsand small towns are less able to cope with extreme events such as floods, icestorms and droughts.” 90Unfortunately, a disconnect also exists between shrinking insurance coverageand increasing need for disaster relief. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) noted thatthe southern United States has a low percentage of homes with hazard insurance,which covers physical property damage incurred by incidents like fire, lightning,and wind. 91 At a July 2011 hearing of the Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery andIntergovernmental Affairs, she said:The southern United States, where many of these storms hit, has the lowest hazardinsurance absorption rate of any region in the country, at 82.6% comparedto 96% nationwide, and in many parts of the South, poverty and unemploymentrates vastly exceed the national average. 92The Louisiana senator added that “it is critical that our nation find a sustainablemethod to finance disaster risk for all segments of the population.”The damages from tropical storms will likely increase, as scientists predict thesestorms will become fiercer as climate change continues to warm the oceans.Science predicts that the number of category 4 and category 5 storms will doubleby the end of this century. 93 And a 2010 study commissioned by the WorldMeteorological Organization and published in the peer-reviewed scientific journalNature Geoscience confirms that besides “substantial increases in the frequency ofthe most intense cyclones,” we can expect rainfall to increase by up to 20 percentin areas up to 60 miles from a storm’s center. 94 The National Oceanic andAtmospheric Administration adds that a 2 percent to 11 percent increase in themean maximum wind speed of hurricanes is also “likely with projected 21st centurywarming.” 9515 Center for American Progress | Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle- and Lower-Income Americans

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