The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1. How will the U.S. fare this year?
Some forecasters say it could be a busy year. The NOAA is predicting 11 to 17 named storms this season and five to nine of them are expected to become hurricanes, with two to four becoming 'major,' or at least Category 3 hurricanes.
Storm surge flooding
Nearly 6.9 million homes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at potential risk of damage from hurricane storm surge flooding with a total reconstruction cost value (RCV) of more than $1.5 trillion, according to the 2017 Storm Surge Report from global property information and data analytics solutions provider, CoreLogic, based in Irving, California.
The CoreLogic analysis examines risk from hurricane-driven storm surge for homes along the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines across 19 states and the District of Columbia, as well as for 86 metro areas.
Significant damage if storm makes landfall in highly populated area
"Despite the fact that this year’s hurricane season is predicted to have fewer storms than last year, it doesn’t mitigate the risk of storm surge damage,” said Dr. Tom Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic. “As we’ve seen with past storms, even one single hurricane at a lower-level category can cause significant damage if it makes landfall in a highly populated area.”
At the regional level, the Atlantic Coast has 3.9 million homes at risk of storm surge with an RCV of $970 billion, and the Gulf Coast has just under 3 million homes at risk with $593 billion in potential exposure to total destruction damage.
At the state level, Texas and Florida — which have the longest coastal areas — consistently have more homes at risk than other states. Again this year, as in previous years, Florida ranks first with just under 2.8 million at-risk homes across the five risk categories, and Texas ranks third with 536,000 at-risk homes.
*The Low risk category refers to Category 5 hurricanes which are not common along the northeastern Atlantic Coast. States in that region are designated as N/A for this category due to the extremely low probability of a Category 5 storm affecting that area.
At the local level, the Miami area, which includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, has the most homes at risk totaling almost 785,000 with an RCV of $143 billion. By comparison, the New York City area has slightly fewer homes at risk at 723,000, but a significantly higher total RCV totaling $264 billion due to the greater home values and high construction costs in this area.
Just 15 metro areas account for 67.3% of the 6.9 million total at-risk homes and 68.6% of the total $15.56 trillion RCV.
The analysis in the 2017 CoreLogic Storm Surge Report encompasses single-family residential structures less than four stories, including mobile homes, duplexes, manufactured homes and cabins, among other non-traditional home types.
Year-over-year changes in the number of homes at risk and RCV can be the result of several variables, including new home construction, improved public records, enhanced modeling techniques, fluctuation in labor, equipment and material costs and even a potential rise in sea level.
Actual land values are not included in the estimates. The values in the report are based on 100%, or total, destruction of the residential structure. Depending on the amount of surge water from a given storm, there may be less than 100% damage to the residence, which would result in a lower realized RCV.