East Coast Tropical Storm Damage Could Hit $1.6 Trillion

Douglas A. McIntyre

Hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30. Last year it produced several storms that slammed the southeastern United States. It is less than six years since Hurricane Sandy crippled much of the Northeast. A research firm has forecast that the potential fury of storms this year could cause $1.6 trillion in damage to residential properties.

The new CoreLogic Storm Surge Report for 2018 estimates costs based on the reconstruction cost value (RCV) of single-family residential homes. The analysis deals primarily with storm surge, which is the water pushed ashore by hurricanes and less powerful storms. The surge usually does more damage than initial powerful winds and rain.

In the new report, CoreLogic estimates:

The 2018 storm surge analysis conducted by CoreLogic shows that more than 6.9 million homes along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts have the potential for storm surge damage, with a total estimated RCV of more than $1.6 trillion. The RCV is calculated based on the total, or 100 percent, destruction of the residential structure, using the combined cost of construction materials as well as equipment and labor costs. It is probable that some homes affected by storm surge during a single event will have less than 100 percent property loss, and as a result, lower realized rebuilding costs and a lower overall RCV.

The large figure is based on Category 5 hurricanes, the most powerful. The number drops as the power of storms does, based on the estimate. The risk also varies by state, with Florida the most exposed based on homes at risk, followed by Louisiana, Texas, New Jersey and New York. The list is an indication that storms are likely to climb the Atlantic into the Northeast.

In terms of cities, the largest figures for homes at risk are Miami, New York, Tampa and Virginia Beach. For people in the cities and states most at risk, it’s time to buckle up.