Rachel Cleetus

Policy Director and Lead Economist, Climate & Energy

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Rachel Cleetus is an expert on the design and economic evaluation of climate and energy policies, as well as the costs of climate change. She holds a Ph.D. in economics. See Rachel's full bio.

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Homes and businesses are surrounded by water flowing out of the Cape Fear River in the eastern part of North Carolina Sept. 17, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell)

Hurricane Florence: One Week Later Here’s What We Know and Here’s What’s Next

On the morning of September 14, Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, bringing with it record storm surge and torrential, historic amounts of rain. A week later, communities across the Carolinas are struggling with the aftermath. At least 42 people have lost their lives thus far. Heavy, lingering rainfall has caused rivers to rise for days after the storm, leading to catastrophic flooding including in inland areas. Here’s what we know so far and what we can expect in the weeks and months to come.

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Photo by Sgt. Odaliska Almonte, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs
NC DOT
U. S. Coast Guard photograph by Auxiliarist Trey Clifton/Released.
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La Guarda Nacional evacuando.

Los peligros escondidos del huracán ‘Florence’: mareas catastróficas e inundaciones al interior amenazan a comunidades rurales y de bajos recursos

En el transcurso de los últimos días, el huracán ‘Florence’ se ha intensificado rápidamente. Mantiene una trayectoria directa hacia Carolina del Norte, como una tormenta de Categoría 4. Esta tormenta es particularmente riesgosa dado el pronóstico de lluvias fuertes y persistentes que amenazan no solo a las áreas costeras, sino también a comunidades del interior. Read more >

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The North Carolina National Guard prepares for Hurricane Florence

The Hidden Dangers of Hurricane Florence: Catastrophic Storm Surge and Inland Flooding Threatens Rural and Low-Income Communities

Over the last few days, we have watched with deepening dismay as the forecast for Hurricane Florence has turned increasingly grim. This rapidly intensifying hurricane is now on a trajectory to come ashore somewhere along the southeast coast, likely in North Carolina, potentially as a Category 4 storm. What heightens the risks of this storm is the forecast of days of lingering heavy rain, threatening not just coastal but also inland areas. Read more >

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Congress Must Extend and Reform the National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is up for re-authorization by the end of July. As flood risks grow around the nation, it’s time for Congress to reform and update this vital 50-year old program to better protect people and property. Without appropriate action, a warming climate coupled with rapid development in floodplains will raise the human and economic toll of flood disasters while taxpayer dollars are squandered on risky, business-as-usual investments. Read more >

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FEMA and HUD Budgets are Vital for Disaster and Climate Preparedness

Last year’s record-breaking disasters—including hurricanes, wildfires and floods—were a reminder of how climate change and faulty development policies are colliding to create dangerous and costly outcomes for the American public. While much attention is focused on post-disaster recovery, we need to invest much more in preparing for disasters before they happen. The good news is that the omnibus budget deal recently passed by Congress appropriated significant funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help foster community resilience, in many cases undoing steep cuts that had been proposed by the Trump administration. Read more >

FEMA News Photo
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