Albany’s Natural Hazard Risk Is Lower Than Most Top STEM Hubs
Among the principal counties of the nation’s top 50 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals, Albany County has the fifth lowest overall risk from expected annual loss due to natural hazards. Albany is also the second most capable STEM Hub to prepare and respond to these hazards, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) of data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) new National Risk Index (NRI).
Risk Index Scores
FEMA’s NRI provides simple measures of a community’s risk for 18 natural hazards, such as wildfires, winter weather, ice storms, heat waves, and tornados. Albany County has a “relatively low” NRI score of 75.5. The risk index scores are calculated by combining scores for Expected Annual Loss due to natural hazards, Social Vulnerability and Community Resilience. The closer the NRI score is to 100, the higher the natural hazard risk.
Among the top 50 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) from WalletHubs’ 2023’s Best & Worst Metro Areas for STEM Professionals, only four had principal counties with risk scores lower than Albany County’s. They were: 1. Greenville MSA (Pickens: 59.98); 2. St. Louis MSA (St. Louis: 66.53); 3. Des Moines MSA (Des Moines: 69.46); and Rochester (Monroe: 74.16).
Expected Annual Loss
FEMA describes expected annual loss as “the average economic loss in dollars resulting from natural hazards each year. It is calculated for each hazard type and quantifies loss for relevant consequence types: buildings, people, and agriculture.” It is calculated by using “a multiplicative equation that includes exposure, annualized frequency, and historic loss ratio risk factors for 18 natural hazards.”
Albany County’s expected annual loss total is $15.6 million – the fifth lowest among the top 50 STEM metros’ principal counties. Among the top 50 STEM metros’ principal counties, Albany County’s estimated annual loss scores ranked low for hazards such as drought, riverline flooding, earthquake, and heat wave. It ranked high for hurricanes, ice storms, and landslides. Albany County had the 17th lowest estimated annual loss score for winter weather among the top 50 STEM metros.
Despite its level of exposure, Albany County is well-positioned to confront these hazards, as indicated by the FEMA data. Among the principal counties of the top 50 STEM metros, Albany County has the second highest community resilience score (94.02). FEMA defines community resilience as “the ability of a community to prepare for anticipated natural hazards, adapt to changing conditions, and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.”
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