Miami, FLTop Climate Change Risks: Heat, Flood, Precipitation

Risk Snapshot

Climate Change Hazard Ratings for Miami, FL

Ratings represent risk relative to North America. 100 is the highest risk for the hazard and 1 is the lowest, but does not indicate no risk. Flood and fire are rated based on the buildings in Miami exposed to these hazards. See hazard sections below and check your address for details.

People in Miami, FL are especially likely to experience increased risks from heat, flood, and precipitation.

Floods, storms, and extreme heat hitting Miami, Florida in recent years have caused severe threats to the people and infrastructure of the city, especially in the densely developed areas of downtown and Miami beach. Due to the dangers of climate change, Miami is rated by some as the most vulnerable coastal city in America for natural disasters.

Miami’s famous beachfront has been subject to severe hurricane damage and recurring flooding at high tides due to rising sea levels. This has allowed saltwater to intrude into the drinking water and has compromised waste treatment plants in the area. One plan for combatting flood damage in Miami proposes elevating buildings and roads and another recommends installing a 20-foot sea wall. Many experts are skeptical that these projects will be effective enough to protect large scale property damage in coming years. This threat has caused property values to drop in many low-lying coastal areas while real estate investors look inland for future development.

Hot summer temperatures can make summer living conditions in Miami uncomfortable and expensive. Miami Dade county recently elected the first chief heat officer in the world. Since 1970, the county has had an increase of above 90 degree days from 84 to 133 a year. Combined with the threat of rising humidity, heat risk poses a severe problem, especially to vulnerable communities.

Heat risk in Miami, FL

The number of the hottest days in Miami is projected to keep increasing.

In a typical year around 1990, people in Miami, FL experienced about 7 days above 92.6ºF in a year. By 2050, people in Miami are projected to experience an average of about 89 days per year over 92.6ºF.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heat waves, even in places with cooler average temperatures. See more information on heat risk. Everyone can take steps to reduce their risks from extreme heat.

Flood risk in Miami, FL

Buildings at risk in Miami average about a 73% chance of a flood about 1.7 feet deep over 30 years.

Of 302 census tracts in Miami, FL, there are 288 where more than half of buildings have significant risk from storm surge, high tide flooding, surface (pluvial) flooding, and riverine (fluvial) flooding. Property owners can check a specific address for flood risk including FEMA flood zone, then take steps to reduce their vulnerability to flooding damage.

Climate change is increasing inland and coastal flooding risk due to sea level rise and increasing chances of extreme precipitation. See more information on flooding risk.

Precipitation risk in Miami, FL

The share of precipitation during the biggest downpours in Miami is projected to remain about the same through 2050.

A downpour for Miami, FL is a two-day rainfall total over 1.1 inches. Around 1990, about 40.0% of precipitation fell during these downpours. In 2050, this is projected to be about 40.0%. The annual precipitation in Miami, FL is projected to decrease from about 56.5" to about 54.8".

Extreme precipitation in any form can pose significant risks. Climate change is increasing the potential for extreme rainfall or snowfall because warmer air can hold more water vapor. See more information on storm risk. Property owners can take steps to reduce their risks from extreme precipitation.

Drought risk in Miami, FL

The average water stress in Miami is projected to be higher around 2050 than around 2015.

The Florida Southeast Coast watershed, which contains Miami, FL, has experienced 581 weeks (48% of weeks) since 2000 with some of its area in drought of any level, and 82 weeks (7% of weeks) since 2000 with some of its area in Extreme or Exceptional drought. Source: National Drought Monitor.

Climate change is increasing the risk of drought. Water stress (the ratio of water demand to supply) depends on how water utilities source water and their plans to adapt to climate change. Property owners can also take steps to reduce their risks from drought.

Fire risk in Miami, FL

The risk on the most dangerous fire weather days in Miami is low. The number of these days per year is expected to increase through 2050.

Of 302 census tracts in Miami, FL, there are 100 where more than a quarter of buildings have significant fire risk, and 59 where more than half of buildings have significant fire risk. Property owners can take steps to mitigate their risks from wildfires.

Fire risk depends on proximity to vegation: densely developed urban areas have a much lower risk of burning than areas adjacent to wildland. Climate change increases risks from wildfire by creating hotter, drier conditions for fires to spread. ClimateCheck ratings of fire risk are based on projected weather conditions and U.S. Forest Service models simulating fire behavior.

How can we limit climate change and live in a transforming world?

The projections on this page describe a future that we still have a chance to avoid. To keep average global warming below 1.5ºC—the goal agreed on in the 2015 Paris Climate Accords—we need to act rapidly to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Understand Risks

The risks presented on this page reflect modeled averages for Miami, FL under one projected emissions scenario and can vary for individual properties. To find out more, check a specific address and request a report describing risks to your property and in your area.

Reduce Emissions

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report states: “If global emissions continue at current rates, the remaining carbon budget for keeping warming to 1.5ºC will likely be exhausted before 2030.” This remaining carbon budget is about the same amount as total global emissions 2010-2019.

In the United States, the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions comes from transportation (about 30%). Globally the vast majority of transportation-related emissions come from cars and trucks, followed by shipping and air travel, which is growing quickly.

Compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. uses twice the average share of emissions for its buildings (including heating and cooling).

Estimate your emissions with the CoolClimate calculator.

Reducing emissions is necessary and possible across the globe and in every part of our society. Learn more with the Not Too Late project and the Project Drawdown introduction to climate solutions.

Protect Homes and Communities

Check our free report for tips on protecting your home from hazards.

Green infrastructure is a category of nature-based solutions for managing increasing precipitation. Find resources for individuals and municipalities through the EPA Soak Up the Rain initiative.

Planting trees and vegetation helps reduce extreme heat in urban environments. Cool pavements can also help. Search the Heat Island Community Actions Database to see what some municipalities have been doing to reduce extreme heat risk.

Read more about building resilience for communities: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

Use the Common Cause tool to find your representatives, how to contact them, and information about political contributions and bills they have introduced.