BALTIMORE — Maryland is one of only a handful of states in the nation that has taken strong action to prepare for future risks associated with climate change, while Virginia has done more to prepare than the majority of states, according a new report.

The States at Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card gave Maryland an overall B+ and says the state is relatively prepared to face changing levels of extreme weather, including extreme heat and coastal flooding.

Virginia received a B score for its work in preparing communities for inland flooding and rising sea levels.

States at Risk Project says the interactive report card is the first-ever quantitative assessment of its kind designed to help states assess risks and build action plans to increase their preparedness levels.

“We know that heat is increasing and drought is more acute in certain places and coastal flooding is more due to sea level rise, and the question is, are states prepared for this?,” says Richard Wiles, senior vice president for Climate Central.

Wiles says the scores for our region appear promising, but many other states are behind in preparing for climate change.

“Maryland happens to be one of them that’s much better prepared than most states, but across the country, I’d say it’s a patchwork of preparedness and most states are not prepared for what we know is coming,” Wiles says

He cites Maryland as one of the only states that has a comprehensive coastal flooding plan that covers all the sectors the report looked at, including transportation, energy, water, health and infrastructure.

However, Maryland, like many states, is particularly vulnerable to extreme heat. The report says the state has nearly 110,000 people 65 years and older or under 5 years old living below the poverty line – the population most susceptible to extreme heat. Heat wave days are projected to more than triple by 2050 in every state except Oregon.

Here are the following scores Maryland and Virginia received in each category:

Extreme Heat – A
Coastal Flooding – A-
Drought, Wildfires, Inland Flooding – N/A

Extreme Heat – B+
Inland Flooding – B
Coastal Flooding – C+
Drought, Wildfires – N/A

States that received an overall A or A- grade include: California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. States that received an overall F grade include: Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada and Texas.

WNEW’s Baltimore Bureau Chief Sarah Jacobs contributed to this report. Follow her and WNEW on Twitter.


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