KITTERY — Floods, hurricanes, drought, rising oceans, record heat – signs of the apocalypse? Or are they the new normal for the 21st century?

The statistics show that weird weather is no longer so weird. Combine this with our modern living trends of dependence on the electrical grid, municipal water, sewage disposal, Internet, automobile transportation and Americans’ migration to the coastline. The mix makes for a very vulnerable society.

The evidence is seen in the weather events Katrina (2005), Irene (2011) in Vermont and Sandy (2012) in the New York area. The National Climate Assessment Committee Report of 2014 stated: “The Northeast has experienced a greater recent increase in extreme precipitation than any other region in the United States; between 1958 and 2010, the Northeast saw more than a 70% increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events … .”

Is Maine susceptible to the damage and destruction seen in other places? The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development think so. Our area could be hit hard, and I believe this is one of the most challenging issues for our region in the coming century.

In 2012 alone, weather disasters accounted for over $110 billion of damage in the United States, as well as many lost lives. The lesson we can learn from these tragedies is that preparation and planning for extreme weather can save money and lives.

Our friends who have lived through these events can provide insight into creating a more disaster-resilient region. I have been attending meetings and conferences to see what actions will have the most impact in protecting us against extreme weather disasters.

There are steps we can take in our region to become more resilient. It’s an effort that involves the federal government, the states, local communities and even our neighborhoods and households.

The first is just surveying our vulnerabilities and resources. The effort is already underway in Maine. Several state agencies are developing a checklist for communities involving emergency preparedness, infrastructure, topography, natural resources and communications. Resilience should be a part of every town’s comprehensive plan.

 The next steps are community dialogue to assess disaster response and planning. In Wells and Kennebunk, trainings to engage stakeholders in the decision-making process have already taken place. Long-range planning is also essential. Rising oceans will lead to homes and infrastructure left stranded on barrier islands. A recently completed sewage treatment plant in Ogunquit, for example, is at risk of isolation and storm surges. Its complete relocated is planned in the next decade.

What are the strategies we can institute to strengthen our states against disaster damage?

 Green infrastructure to protect against erosion and wave action. Marsh restoration, compacted seaweed, vegetative plantings, rain gardens and even beach slope reconfiguration can do wonders to protect our communities.

 Building codes and zoning should anticipate the threats of disaster. This involves not only raising structures above flood levels, but also relocating generators and fuel storage out of our basements. Some communities may need complete rezoning to take infrastructure and business out of the path of destruction.

 Helping every community with emergency shelter that includes electricity and water will be essential.

 Finally, on the household level, awareness of the simple steps of food and water storage, utility relocation and evacuation planning will further increase our resiliency.

From “Jersey Strong” to “Resilient Rhode Island,” states are treating disaster resiliency very seriously. Planning departments and state agencies in New York and Vermont are recommending strategies to cope with future weather events.

I am part of a group of lawmakers in Maine’s 127th Legislature who will be examining our vulnerabilities to the coming dangers. I’ve submitted a bill to establish a task force on disaster resilience, an important step toward a comprehensive plan to protect community infrastructure, vulnerable areas, millions of dollars and lives.

Of course, our most important defense against disasters are the connections that allow us to work together. Divisions between state and local governments or between political philosophies will only hinder our ability to be ready for the extreme weather that is heading our way.

Let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worst.