Total Reconstruction Cost Value is More Than $1.5 Trillion

Projections for the 2016 hurricane season indicated that an average or slightly greater-than-average number of storms were expected compared with the 30-year average for the Atlantic basin. But as history has demonstrated, it is not only the number of storms that should be of concern, but also the location of the storms.1

The 2016 CoreLogic Storm Surge Report reveals that a total of more than 6.8 million homes located along both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the U.S. are at risk of storm surge damage. The estimated total reconstruction cost value (RCV) of these structures is just over $1.5 trillion (Figure 1).

Storm surge risk varies along the coasts, as do changes in bathymetry (the measurement of the depth of water) and land elevation. However, there is no location along these shorelines that is entirely free from the risk of storm surge flooding. Although parts of the southeastern Atlantic coastline and Gulf Coast rank highest in potential damage, lesser surge risk also extends into and includes areas as far north as Massachusetts and Maine.

There is significant variation in the number of homes at risk and the RCV when comparing one state with another. The length of coastline, coastal elevation and density of residential development all contribute to a state’s risk of storm surge flooding. Texas and Florida, which have the longest coastal areas, consistently have more homes at risk than many other states. Florida ranks first with 2.7 million and Texas ranks third with 531,000 (Figure 2).

The “Low” risk category is based on Category 5 hurricanes which are not likely along the northeastern Atlantic Coast. States in that area have N/A designated for the “Low” category due to the extremely low probability of a category 5 storm affecting that area.

 

The official hurricane season extends from June-November each year, but in no way are storms limited to that time frame. In fact, for 2016, the first hurricane (Alex) has already developed and dissipated. The threat of a storm that may push onshore in a place that is vulnerable to storm surge is ever present, and annual preparation and planning for these types of events will always be necessary.

About Tom Jeffrey, Senior Hazard Scientist
Dr. Thomas Jeffery, senior hazard scientist for CoreLogic Spatial Solutions, is the lead scientist on development of various CoreLogic hazard risk datasets, including wildfire risk, coastal storm surge risk, earthquake risk and Florida sinkhole risk. He works with many of the top 100 U.S. insurance companies to help implement hazard risk models in automated underwriting and pricing systems. Matt Van Every, meteorologist and senior product manager for CoreLogic, is former co-owner of the recently acquired Weather Fusion. In his role, Matt is tasked with identifying market needs and coordinating science research, and product design concepts and product development for the company’s hail, wind and lightning verification solutions. His work also includes collaborating with market experts, top insurance companies, material manufactures and supply companies to innovate new products and solutions that solve market-centric problems.

 

Sources:The Tropical Meteorology Project – http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/forecasts/