The second smallest state in the US, Delaware is particularly vulnerable to a range of natural disasters, including hurricanes, nor'easters, winter storms, and flooding. These disasters occur on a fairly regular basis due to the state's coastal location and low-lying topography. For example, Delaware has had at least one federally declared disaster annually since 2000.
In terms of vulnerability, Delaware ranks 20th among the 50 states for the number of disaster declarations, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Notable disasters include the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, which caused significant damage to the state's coastal areas, and the nor'easter of 1962, which is considered one of the most destructive storms in Delaware's history.
The economic toll of these disasters is considerable. From 1965 to 2020, Delaware incurred over $1 billion in damages from natural disasters, as per the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).Given Delaware's vulnerability to natural disasters, disaster preparedness is of utmost importance. By understanding the state's disaster threat profile, residents, local authorities, and disaster management organizations can better prepare for potential disasters.