King County, Washington Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan Update

The King County, Washington Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan reflects a partnership between the County and 55 different cities, schools, fire districts, hospitals and utility districts throughout the County to identify and mitigate the impacts of disasters - including the impacts of climate change. In 2015, the final updated plan was approved by Washington State and FEMA. Federal compliance rules require this plan be updated every five years.

The plan includes all federally required elements of a disaster mitigation plan, including the description of the planning process, public involvement strategy, goals and objectives, countywide hazard risk assessment, countywide mitigation actions, and a plan maintenance strategy. The focal impacts of the strategy are each given a chapter which includes the hazard profile, and assessment of exposure, vulnerability, and future trends. The impacts assessed for King County include: Avalanche, Dam Failure, Earthquake, Flood, Landslide, Severe Weather, Severe Winter Weather, Tsunami, Volcano, and Wildfire.   

Chapter 7, Climate Change Considerations for Hazard Mitigation, tracks a series of indicators for local climate impacts, assessing the severity of each for the region. The impacts discussed as resulting from climate change in the region include: higher average large lake temperatures, reduced summer stream flows, increased rainfall, sea level rise, increased air temperature, declining snow pack, warming sea surface temperatures, ocean acidification, increased mortality rate from extreme heat, and worsening air quality. Other focal impacts worth explaining in more detail here include:

  • Stream temperatures rising, and the majority exceeding a raise of at least 16°C temperature standard established for the protection of salmon habitat.
  • County Operations - Over the period for which data is available (since 2007), data show a trend in increasing hours of operation of the King County Flood Warning Center.
  • FEMA disasters - Flood, severe storm and coastal storm related FEMA disasters in King County have been occurring more frequently in the past decade.
  • Fish - Wild juvenile chinook salmon abundance in King County watersheds has been decreasing with population estimates in 2010 far below the recovery goals, at only 7% of the recovery target.

Section 7.6 in this chapter looks at the potential impact of climate change on each of the plan’s focal hazards. This overview is meant to serve as a basis for evaluating how risk will change as a result of future climate change impacts.

 

Publication Date: November 2014

Related Organizations:

  • King County, Washington

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  • Plans (other)

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