Question Of The Week: Are Your Facilities At Risk From Flood Waters?

A new global flood map from property insurer FM Global aids in risk assessment for facility executives around the world.

With flooding on the rise around the world, FM Global, a Rhode Island-based property insurer, has introduced a visual aid for companies to help manage this increasing and potentially costly risk to their businesses. The firm’s interactive Global Flood Map presents facility management executives and other stakeholders with a strategic planning tool to address natural hazard exposure. A version of the new map is available for use by businesses and the public at no cost (registration required).

flood map
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The Global Flood Map provides a worldwide view of high- and moderate-hazard flood zones across the globe, even in areas where previously available information was unreliable, inconsistent, or nonexistent. The global flood map is meant to help accurately answer the question: Are your locations in or out of potential flood zones?

“Flood is one of the costliest commercial property risks, and it’s only getting worse with climate change, globalization, and urbanization,” said Brion Callori, senior vice president and manager, engineering and research at FM Global. “Companies with properties anywhere in the world can now quickly identify the base flood risk for all of their facilities on a globally consistent, apples-to-apples basis, at a resolution of just 90 meters by 90 meters.”

The map can make initial loss-prevention and site-location decisions significantly easier, notes FM Global. Executives and risk managers no longer need to locate, review, and compare different maps from multiple countries that employ a variety of methodologies. Nor must they contact disparate agencies or make dozens of site visits in order to garner basic information about whether particular properties reside in flood zones.

Users can now determine whether their locations reside in a flood zone simply by typing in physical addresses. The map identifies high hazards and moderate hazards.

  • High Hazards: If a location is in a 100-year flood zone, meaning it has a 1% chance per year of experiencing a flood, it will be highlighted in pink.
  • Moderate Hazards: If a location is in a 500-year flood zone, meaning it has a 0.2% chance per year of experiencing flood, it will be highlighted in yellow.

The FM Global map presents results in two zoomable view options, road and aerial (includes buildings).

The Global Flood Map provides:

  • Scientific Basis: The Global Flood Map is a comprehensive, physically based flood map employing hydrologic and hydraulic models, and reflecting data on rainfall, evaporation, snowmelt, and terrain.
  • Consistency: The Global Flood Map provides a worldwide view of high- and moderate- hazard flood zones around the globe one 90-meter-by-90-meter tile at a time.
  • Geographic Coverage: The Global Flood Map uniformly depicts high- and moderate-hazard flood zones for the vast majority of the planet’s land mass, including previously uncharted territories in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.

FM Global’s researchers built on the experiences of and data from more than 10 different external scientific, academic and governmental organizations to prepare the map. The project leveraged FM Global’s in-house computing clusters.

The Global Flood Map can be accessed at the FM Global website (free registration required).

Have you evaluated the flood risk for your facilities? If so, what measures have you taken to protect against this threat? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below.