Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology


Joint Action Group for the COASTAL Act Post-Storm Analysis


On June 29, 2012, Congress passed the Federal highway conference bill which was then signed into law by the President on 6 July. The bill included legislation to establish the Consumer Option for an Alternative System to Allocate Losses (COASTAL) Act. The COASTAL Act will lower costs to the National Flood Insurance Program by better discerning wind versus storm surge damages in the case of “clean slabs,” where little tangible evidence beyond a building’s foundation remains for the proper adjustment of insurance claims for homes totally destroyed by a hurricane or tropical storm, and will enable a more timely claims adjustment process which has frequently faced excessive delays due to litigation between the Federal government and private insurers, resulting from an inability to determine to what extent the damage should be covered by the National Flood Insurance Program or by private insurers covering wind damage.

Under the new law, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is required to produce detailed post-storm analyses (hind-cast models) following named storms that impact the coastal zone of the U.S. These analyses are then required to be submitted to the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS/FEMA) within 90 days. NOAA is required to make all data and post-storm assessments available to the public and to maintain an online database. The database and post-storm model are mandated to be operational by Dec. 28, 2013 (540 days after enactment).


The deliverables required by the COASTAL Act Language:

  • Not later than 180 days after enactment (Jan 2, 2013), NOAA, in consultation with the OFCM, must identify all Federal and state efforts and systems that are capable of collecting covered data and consult with private and academic sector entities to identify domestic private and academic systems capable of collecting covered data.
  • NOAA, in consultation with the OFCM, will conduct an assessment of data systems and coverage gaps (no suspense date stipulated in the Act).
  • Not later than 270 days after enactment (April 2, 2013), NOAA, in consultation with the OFCM, must send to Congress a plan for the collection of data needed to inform the post-storm assessments.
  • Not later than 1 year after enactment (July 6, 2013), NOAA shall establish a database for the collection and compilation of covered data; this database shall be known as the Coastal Wind and Water Event Database.
  • Not later than 540 days (29 Dec 2013) after enactment, NOAA shall establish a protocol, based on the plan submitted, to collect and assemble all covered data required by NOAA to produce post-storm assessments required by the COASTAL Act, including assembling data collected by participants and stored in the database established under subsection (f) and from such other sources as NOAA considers appropriate, and NOAA shall develop by regulation the Named Storm Event Model. Once developed, NOAA will use the model to conduct post-storm assessments not later than 90 days after identification of each named storm that threatens a coastal state. The results will then be provided to DHS for use in the COASTAL Formula.

Current Status