Risk and Vulnerability Assessments

Climate Implications – Risk and Vulnerability Assessments

Climate risk assessments identify hazards to human health or the environment from climate change, estimate the risk posed, and consider steps to reduce risk if necessary. 

As the climate changes, extreme weather events are presenting more major threats in the Midwest, including heat waves, heavy precipitation, flooding, and snowstorms. These extreme weather events have impacts on residents, infrastructure, economies, and the natural environment. Existing local government plans may not consider these impacts at all or may not sufficiently plan for the extent of the impacts. Thus, it is important to use local risk and vulnerability assessments to update risk management plans. 

Risk and vulnerability assessments at the state or national level are not granular enough to be used at the local level, do not include specific enough information on the impacts felt by vulnerable populations, and cannot identify which communities are most likely to be impacted.

Considering local risk and vulnerability assessments allows communities to consider the impacts of extreme weather events, incorporate new assumptions and data, and integrate climate-smart and equity-focused information to protect all populations in the community. Thorough assessments explicitly consider populations most likely to be vulnerable – such as minorities, low-income individuals, senior citizens, linguistically isolated residents, and those with pre-existing health conditions.