HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Natural disasters can strike anywhere.

However, the Federal Emergency Management Agency knows some areas are more vulnerable than others.

So what does FEMA data reveal about which Texas communities face the greatest risks, whether it be due to storm, fire, flood and other calamities, such as winter weather?

To help answer that question, FEMA developed a National Risk Index, based on a variety of hazard-type risks measured and adjusted in relation to community factors, such as social vulnerability and community resilience.

Based on the National Risk Index, these 20 counties rank highest for hazard-type risks in Texas (with each county listed with its FEMA risk index score):

  1. Harris County: 80.62
  2. Cameron County: 50.79
  3. Dallas County: 42.07
  4. Bexar County: 39.95
  5. Galveston County: 38.94
  6. Hidalgo County: 38.06
  7. Starr County: 36.22
  8. El Paso County: 35.67
  9. Jefferson County: 35.67
  10. Tarrant County: 31.52
  11. Parmer County: 31.46
  12. Nueces County: 30.64
  13. Lubbock County: 27.66
  14. Potter County: 24.86
  15. San Patricio County: 24.84
  16. Val Verde County: 24.84
  17. Matagorda County: 23.94
  18. Brazoria County: 24.25
  19. Montgomery County: 23.96
  20. Aransas County: 23.78

Texas’ average risk index score is 12.89 and the national average risk index score is 10.60.

Because of a tie at No. 8 between El Paso and Jefferson counties, it’s worth noting that Travis County, which ranks No. 21 among Texas counties, scored 22.92 on the index.

Scores reflect a community’s ability to protect itself from an event, respond to the crisis, and its potential for damage.

Harris County (No. 1; Risk index: 80.62)

FEMA’s risk index score for Harris County is listed as “very high,” the highest in Texas. Nationally, 99.9% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Harris County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Very High

Social Vulnerability: Relatively Moderate

Community Resilience: Relatively Low

Top threats: Hurricane (100); riverine flooding (100); tornado (100); winter weather (65.33); lightning (60.92); hail (34.09); heat wave (23.48); strong wind (23.35); coastal flooding (20.68); drought (13.79); ice storm (12.05); wildfire (11.81); earthquake (8.14); and landslide (5.92).

Cameron County (No.2; Risk index: 50.79)

FEMA’s risk index score for Cameron County is listed as “very high,” the second highest in Texas. Nationally, 99.7% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Cameron County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively High

Social Vulnerability: Very High

Community Resilience: Relatively Low

Top threats: Hurricane (67.11); coastal flooding (61.44); riverine flooding (60.02); winter weather (46.96); hail (42.95); cold wave (37.92); tornado (34.40); lightning (27.54) ice storm (26.30); drought (24.38); strong wind (20.39); wildfire (11.36); earthquake (2.64); landslide (1.65); and heat wave (0.31);

Dallas County (No. 3; Risk index: 42.07)

FEMA’s risk index score for Dallas County is listed as “very high,” the third highest in Texas. Nationally, 99.4% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Dallas County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Very High

Social Vulnerability: Relatively Moderate

Community Resilience: Relatively Low

Top threats: Hail (100); tornado (82.59); ice storm (38.98); heat wave (37.62); lightning (36.11); winter weather (31.65); riverine flooding (25.54); wildfire (10.46); earthquake (9.93); hurricane (6.77); drought (6.43); and landslide (5.93).

Bexar County (No. 4; Risk index: 39.95)

FEMA’s risk index score for Bexar County is listed as “relatively high,” the fourth highest in Texas. Nationally, 99.2% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Bexar County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively High

Social Vulnerability: Relatively High

Community Resilience: Relatively Moderate

Top threats: Ice storm (73.05); tornado (71.23); hail (70.75); winter weather (65.16); riverine flooding (48.10); wildfire (20.69); drought (15.98); hurricane (13.53); landslide (29.58); and earthquake (3.36).

Galveston County (No. 5; Risk index: 38.94)

FEMA’s risk index score for Galveston County is listed as “relatively high,” the fifth highest in Texas. Nationally, 99.2% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Galveston County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Very High

Social Vulnerability: Relatively Low

Community Resilience: Relatively High

Top threats: Hurricane (52.18); riverine flooding (48.59); lightning (26.69); tornado (26.68); coastal flooding (20.65); wildfire (14.08); winter weather (13.18); hail (11.55); ice storm (9.83); strong wind (8.60); drought (7.06); heat wave (6.40); landslide (3.34); and earthquake (2.15).

Hidalgo County (No. 6; Risk index: 38.06)

FEMA’s risk index score for Hidalgo County is listed as “relatively high,” the sixth highest in Texas. Nationally, 99.1% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Hidalgo County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively Moderate

Social Vulnerability: Very High

Community Resilience: Very Low

Top threats: Ice storm (74.42); winter weather (62.75); hail (57.53); cold wave (47.21); tornado (46.80); hurricane (45.26); riverine flooding (42.02); heat wave (39.58); lightning (34.20); drought (32.62); strong wind (21.00); wildfire (18.84); and earthquake (3.22).

Starr County (No. 7; Risk index: 36.22)

FEMA’s risk index score for Starr County is listed as “relatively high,” the seventh highest in Texas. Nationally, 98.8% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Starr County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively Low

Social Vulnerability: Very High

Community Resilience: Very Low

Top threats: Cold wave (96.52); riverine flooding (61.73); ice storm (38.99); winter weather (38.16); drought (26.80); tornado (26.05); hurricane (19.87); wildfire (19.53); heat wave (19.48); strong wind (15.27); hail (15.12); landslide (13.79); lightning (11.35); and earthquake (1.03).

El Paso County (No. 8; Risk index: 35.67)

FEMA’s risk index score for El Paso County is listed as “relatively high,” the eighth highest in Texas. Nationally, 98.7% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, El Paso County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively Moderate

Social Vulnerability: Very High

Community Resilience: Relatively Low

Top threats: Winter weather (72.74); lightning (72.41); hail (50.19); riverine flooding (48.40); ice storm (30.97); drought (30.04); strong wind (26.51); earthquake (22.95); tornado (20.21); landslide (16.60); wildfire (12.87); and hurricane (5.59).

Jefferson County (No. 9; Risk index: 35.67)

FEMA’s risk index score for Jefferson County is listed as “relatively high,” the ninth highest in Texas. Nationally, 98.7% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Jefferson County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively High

Social Vulnerability: Relatively Moderate

Community Resilience: Relatively High

Top threats: Hurricane (48.82); riverine flooding (40.80); tornado (38.79); lightning (35.27); ice storm (29.47); wildfire (21.96); hail (17.68); heat wave (15.74); strong wind (13.12); drought (12.32); winter weather (9.24); landslide (3.72); and earthquake (3.41).

Tarrant County (No. 10; Risk index: 31.52)

FEMA’s risk index score for Tarrant County is listed as “relatively high,” the 10th highest in Texas. Nationally, 98.1% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Tarrant County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively High

Social Vulnerability: Relatively Low

Community Resilience: Relatively Moderate

Top threats: Hail (70.17); tornado (62.81); lightning (31.28); winter weather (31.26); heat wave (29.12); riverine flooding (21.91); strong wind (17.51); wildfire (16.59); landslide (6.92); earthquake (6.01); drought (5.37); and hurricane (4.82).

Parmer County (No. 11; Risk index: 31.46)

FEMA’s risk index score for Parmer County is listed as “relatively high,” the 11th highest in Texas. Nationally, 98.0% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Parmer County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively High

Social Vulnerability: Relatively Moderate

Community Resilience: Relatively Moderate

Top threats: Drought (70.91); hail (22.42); winter weather (21.62); cold wave (16.35); strong wind (15.39); tornado (13.90); ice storm (10.01); lightning (7.34); wildfire (6.69); landslide (2.51); riverine flooding (2.12); and earthquake (1.11).

Nueces County (No. 12; Risk index: 30.64)

FEMA’s risk index score for Nueces County is listed as “relatively high,” the 12th highest in Texas. Nationally, 97.8% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Nueces County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively High

Social Vulnerability: Relatively High

Community Resilience: Relatively High

Top threats: Hurricane (48.92); ice storm (27.39); lightning (26.67); tornado (24.24); drought (23.80); strong wind (23.72); coastal flooding (21.36); riverine flooding (16.85); winter weather (16.05); hail (13.98); wildfire (11.42); earthquake (2.85); landslide (2.52); cold wave (0.85); and heat wave (0.02).

Lubbock County (No. 13; Risk index: 27.66)

FEMA’s risk index score for Lubbock County is listed as “relatively high,” the 13th highest in Texas. Nationally, 97.2% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Lubbock County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively High

Social Vulnerability: Relatively Moderate

Community Resilience: Relatively High

Top threats: Hail (49.38), winter weather (46.45); strong wind (41.03); drought (41.86); tornado (36.14); cold wave (33.33); riverine flooding (28.14); lightning (23.05); ice storm (17.01); wildfire (13.22); landslide (8.80); earthquake (3.09); and hurricane (2.85).

Potter County (No. 14; Risk index: 24.86)

FEMA’s risk index score for Potter County is listed as “relatively high,” the 14th highest in Texas. Nationally, 96.1% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Potter County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively Moderate

Social Vulnerability: Relatively High

Community Resilience: Relatively Moderate

Top threats: Winter weather (72.08); cold wave (47.31); hail (45.72); tornado (45.06); strong wind (36.33); lightning (30.37); drought (26.80); wildfire (24.38); riverine flooding (16.47); ice storm (14.43); landslide (7.46); and earthquake (5.37).

San Patricio County (No. 15; Risk index: 24.84)

FEMA’s risk index score for San Patricio County is listed as “relatively high,” the 15th highest in Texas. Nationally, 96.1% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, San Patricio County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively Moderate

Social Vulnerability: Relatively High

Community Resilience: Relatively Moderate

Top threats: Hurricane (40.27); drought (21.55); cold wave (20.43); lightning (18.56); tornado (16.80); ice storm (15.41); strong wind (15.34); riverine flooding (15.15); coastal flooding (14.54); hail (13.35); winter weather (11.98); wildfire (6.93); earthquake (1.29); and landslide (0.66).

Val Verde County (No. 16; Risk index: 24.84)

FEMA’s risk index score for Val Verde County is listed as “relatively high,” the 16th highest in Texas. Nationally, 96.0% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Val Verde’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively Moderate

Social Vulnerability: Very High

Community Resilience: Relatively Low

Top threats: riverine flooding (42.31); winter weather (38.34); lightning (35.85); tornado (22.94); wildfire (19.06); hail (12.02); strong wind (11.87); drought (11.11); landslide (10.23); ice storm (4.92); hurricane (3.59); and earthquake (1.33).

Matagorda County (No. 17; Risk index: 23.94)

FEMA’s risk index score for Matagorda County is listed as “relatively high,” the 17th highest in Texas. Nationally, 96.0% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Matagorda’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively Moderate

Social Vulnerability: Relatively High

Community Resilience: Relatively Low

Top threats: Hurricane (39.99); riverine flooding (19.79); drought (18.06); wildfire (16.86); tornado (16.84); coastal flooding (14.98); winter weather (14.93); lightning (14.62); ice storm (12.20); hail (11.95); strong wind (10.13); heat wave (5.94); earthquake (1.51); and landslide (0.99).

Brazoria County (No. 18; Risk index: 24.25)

FEMA’s risk index score for Brazoria County is listed as “relatively high,” the 18th highest in Texas. Nationally, 95.8% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Brazoria County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Very High

Social Vulnerability: Very Low

Community Resilience: Relatively High

Top threats: Hurricane (32.73); riverine flooding (29.86); tornado (20.99); lightning (19.99); winter weather (14.06); coastal flooding (11.06); wildfire (10.24); drought (7.75); ice storm (7.12); hail (7.44); heat wave (6.84); strong wind (6.14); earthquake (1.71); and landslide (1.55).

Montgomery County (No. 19; Risk index: 23.96)

FEMA’s risk index score for Montgomery County is listed as “relatively high,” the 18th highest in Texas. Nationally, 95.7% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Montgomery County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Very High

Social Vulnerability: Very Low

Community Resilience: Relatively Low

Top threats: Hurricane (34.68); tornado (30.69); riverine flooding (23.20); winter weather (19.88); lightning (13.58); hail (13.35); drought (8.01); strong wind (7.68); ice storm (6.32); landslide (4.32); wildfire (3.50); earthquake (1.84); heat wave (0.77).

Aransas County (No. 20; Risk index: 23.78)

FEMA’s risk index score for Aransas County is listed as “relatively high,” the 18th highest in Texas. Nationally, 95.5% of U.S. counties have a lower risk index score. According to FEMA, Aransas County’s score is based on these factors:

Expected Annual Loss: Relatively Moderate

Social Vulnerability: Relatively High

Community Resilience: Relatively Moderate

Top threats: Hurricane (38.60); coastal flooding (21.23); riverine flooding (19.53); cold wave (14.80); tornado (14.11); lightning (14.00); winter weather (13.11); ice storm (13.03); strong wind (12.90); hail (10.33); wildfire (7.25); earthquake (1.04); drought (0.96);