Loudoun County is the safest county in the country in terms of weathering natural hazards, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA’s National Risk Index gave Loudoun the lowest score of all counties in the United States, considering natural hazards ranging from avalanches, volcanoes and tsunamis to flooding, hail, hurricanes and heat waves.
The index rates counties and census tracts relative to each other based on three factors: the expected annual damages, the vulnerability of people in the community to the impacts of those natural hazards, and the community’s ability to plan for and recover from natural hazards. That meant that some places that are less well-known for natural hazards, but where a single tornado or flood could do massive damage and lead to many deaths, ranked very high on the list—such as in New York City.
It also measures only natural hazards. For example, flooding caused by a storm surge would be counted, but flooding from a dam breaking would not.
Loudoun’s place in the rankings was buoyed by its extremely low score for social vulnerability— the lowest of any county, and about one-tenth of the next-lowest, Chattahoochee County, GA. Loudoun was ranked “relatively moderate”—middle of the pack— for both expected annual loss and community resilience.
Loudoun is followed by the city and borough of Wrangell, AK, and Chattahoochee County, GA.
The most endangered county is Los Angeles County, CA, followed by Bronx and New York, NY and Miami-Dade, FL.