Reading Around the Internet

This week’s DPP reading seemed mostly focused on storms and earthquakes:

Storms — So Many Storms!!!

Southwest England has been hit by flooding. Wind gusts in excess of 100 miles per hour hit the western coast this last week. That follows the wettest January since 1766. The Guardian has a very interesting animation of the series of storms that have hit the UK, Spain, France and Portugal.

In the meantime, the East Coast of the US has had an abundance of snow. Photos of Winter Storm Pax are sometimes beautiful, but often frightening, especially in areas where people are not used to a lot of snow, let alone the amounts that have been seen as far south as Atlanta, Georgia.

And of course, here in the middle of the US, we’ve had freezing temperatures for what seems like an eternity.

Earthquakes

Continuing my latest obsession, the National Geographic published a very informative article about a month ago. It provides an explanation of different kinds of earthquakes. I found it useful in understanding some of the recent research on earthquakes I wrote about last week.

A lot of readers already know that fracking and earthquakes have been linked in a lot of press. Emergency Management explored this issue in an article describing seismic activity in the middle of the country. They provide an interesting explanation of what happens during tracking that likely causes earthquakes.

Senate seeks to delay NFIP reform

A recent op-ed in the Washington Post recently describes yet another delay in efforts to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In brief, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Act in 2012, which sought to remedy numerous problems in NFIP, including a five-year phase-out of flood insurance premium subsidies. Two weeks ago, the Senate approved a plan (H.R. 3370) to delay the subsidy reductions. This bill, known as the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014” will, in effect, terminate the small, first-steps that Biggert-Waters took toward eliminating (or at least mitigate) the moral hazard I described in my previous post. The bill originated in the House, but was amended in the Senate, which means it will now go back to the House for a new vote, and perhaps, further amendment. Several Representatives have expressed concern about any delays in the subsidy rollbacks. In my next post on NFIP, I’ll talk more length about Biggert-Waters, NFIP reform, and interest-group attacks on reform.

In the meantime, I would refer interested readers to the Washington Post op-ed cited above and this post at the online Insurance Journal. The official summary of the bill is available at congress.gov.