More homes at risk of storm surge in Southwest
Article Courtesy of The Herald-Tribune
July 27, 2016
More than 340,000 homes in Southwest Florida are at
risk of hurricane storm surge, with a potential rebuilding cost topping
The Sarasota-Bradenton area ranked eighth among major U.S. metro areas
for storm surge risk, according to an annual study by data provider
surrounded by water, remains the state with the most
homes at risk of a storm surge and with the highest
reconstruction cost in the U.S.
Seven weeks into the 2016 hurricane season, CoreLogic
says it has used more advanced data than in previous
years to measure the potential damage that could be
caused by a major storm.
That has added 20,500 Southwest Florida homes since last
year to the list of properties that could be affected by
a storm surge.
"Using more granular-level data has given us an even
clearer picture of which homes are at risk of
storm-surge damage," said Tom Jeffery, senior hazard
risk scientist for CoreLogic.
"Despite the overall increases in risk, we were glad to
see that the number and value of homes in the most
extreme, and dangerous, category actually declined. It
just goes to show the power of how advanced data can
improve risk assessment at the property level."
A hurricane has
not made landfall in the state since Wilma in October
2005. The last to affect Southwest Florida was Charley
In Sarasota and
Manatee counties, 250,615 homes are in areas of low to
extreme storm-surge risk, CoreLogic said. They have an
estimated reconstruction value of $47.3 billion.
A nine-unit condominium in the Florida Panhandle
town of Seagrove Beach was condemned after it was damaged by
storm surge from Hurricane Dennis in 2005. A new study shows
that 23,176 homes in Southwest Florida would be affected by even
the weakest storm's surge, 19,200 fewer than were rated at
extreme risk last year.
Of those, 23,176 are at "extreme" risk, meaning they would be affected
by even the weakest storm's surge. But with the company's new analysis,
that is 19,200 fewer homes than were rated at extreme risk last year.
In Charlotte County, 93,069 homes are storm-surge candidates, with an
estimated rebuilding cost of $18.3 billion. Among them are 23,924 homes
that would be affected by any hurricane, some 20,500 less than last
Statewide, 2.7 million at-risk homes would cost more than $535.6 billion
Louisiana ranked second to Florida, with 800,521 homes at risk and a
potential rebuilding cost of $184.3 billion.
Nationwide, more than 6.8 million homes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts
are threatened with hurricane storm inundation, with a reconstruction
cost topping $1.5 trillion.
Hurricane forecasters are calling for a slightly below- to slightly
above-average season this year. A typical season, which runs from June 1
to Nov. 30, has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major
Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project has forecast 12
named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes. The prediction
from Accuweather calls for 14 named storms and eight hurricanes, four of
them major. The Weather Channel/Weather Co. projects 14 named storms and
eight hurricanes, three of them major.
A decade without a hurricane has left Florida in its strongest
standpoint ever to face the annual storm season.
Most private insurers are in good shape. The Florida Hurricane
Catastrophe fund, a program that backs the private market as well as the
state-owned Citizens Property Insurance, has enough cash to financially
withstand a major storm.
Floridians still pay the highest average property insurance premiums in
the country, at $2,115 a year for a typical homeowner’s policy. The
national average, based on 2013 premiums, was $1,096, according to the
National Association of Insurance Commissioners.