You could travel the length of the Mississippi, or drive from eastern Pennsylvania all the way down to West Texas, without ever leaving a state that's been hit in recent months by catastrophic flooding.
A stunning new map issued by the Pew Charitable Trusts highlights the 24 states that last year experienced at least one flood so severe that it was declared a federal disaster. Still more states that managed to avoid that fate in 2016 have seen serious floods in recent years.
Louisiana receives special mention in the map's key as one of just two states to have suffered two billion-dollar inland floods last year. But the map makes clear that plenty of other places can relate.
The last time a Louisiana lawmaker was elected to a top spot in the congressional hierarchy,…
That's obviously tragic news for them, but potentially good news when it comes to the upcoming reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, which finished the year $25 billion in debt.
Legislation governing the program is set to expire this year, and Congress will soon start debating its future shape. U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Metairie, the House Republican whip, said last week at the annual Washington Mardi Gras that he's been talking to representatives from other states that have experienced severe flooding about presenting a united front.
Everyone representing Louisiana will surely get involved, but Scalise will likely emerge as a key figure, given that skeptics of the program tend to be concentrated in the GOP.
The model for action will likely be the 2014 fix to the controversial Biggert-Waters act, which threatened to make insurance so expensive in South Louisiana that it could have torpedoed the real estate market. Back then, Louisiana Republicans and Democrats joined with colleagues who'd just come through Hurricane Sandy and other major weather events to amend the measure, despite objections from some key Republican leaders.
The Pew map offers a good cheat sheet for those seeking allies this time around. This is one of those times when misery loves company.