Multi-Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation

Northampton's Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan (2015) (HERE) helps the community mitigate against natural hazards (flooding, extreme weather events, earthquakes, etc.). The plan is valid August 3, 2015-August 2, 2020.

Although the format of the plan is similar to previous plans, one of the focus areas is adapting to a warming climate, with the increased extreme weather events that we expect a warmer climate to bring.  

Northampton has already changed our regulated floodplain boundaries to address climate change.  In the past, the city, as with most communities, regulated areas that have a 1% chance of flooding in any given year (the 100 year flood).  Now we are regulating areas which the Federal Emergency Management Agency has estimated have a 0.2% chance of flooding in any given year prior to any analysis of climate change.  This new standard is a surrogate for climate change since we know that climate change in Northampton may result in  more extreme weather events.  As a practical matter, this means a smaller snow pack in New England so a lower spring freshet flood event, but greater likelihood of large tropical storms, hurricanes, more local extreme weather events, and probably more total local rainfall.