2020 was the most active hurricane season ever. The count for 2021 was well above average, and 2022 is expected to have hurricanes closer to the record. These hurricanes, part of what is called the Atlantic Hurricane Season, take lives and cost billions of dollars in property damage every year.
Going forward, climate change will likely only continue to contribute to the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters, including hurricanes — the deadliest and most destructive classification of natural disasters threatening the United States. Over the past two decades, hurricanes have killed an average of over 300 Americans per year and resulted in overall damage totaling nearly $1 trillion.
Hurricanes that threaten the United States form in the North Atlantic Basin and pose a perennial risk to communities along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. According to a recent report from CoreLogic — a property information, analytics, and data provider — nearly 8 million single-family homes are at risk of storm surge damage from hurricanes, and over 31 million homes are at risk of damage from hurricane winds nationwide. These risks are disproportionately shouldered by metropolitan areas along the Eastern Seaboard and along the Gulf of Mexico.
Using data from CoreLogic’s 2021 Hurricane Report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the city where hurricanes would cause the most damage. Metro areas are ranked by the number of single-family homes at risk of storm surge damage.
Over one-third of the metro areas we considered are located in Florida. Another three are in Louisiana, and two are located in the Northeastern United States. Each of these places has faced the threat of major hurricane damage in recent decades — some have narrowly dodged the worst devastation, while others, like New Orleans in 2005, have not been so lucky.
The city most at risk for hurricane damage is New York. Here are the details:
> Homes at risk of storm surge: 781,823
> Reconstruction cost value of at-risk property: $304.5 billion
> Metro area population: 19,216,182
> Recent severe hurricane: Superstorm Sandy (2012)
New York City does not face threats from hurricanes with the frequency of cities further south on the Atlantic or Gulf coasts. In the event of a hurricane, however, it has 781,823 single-family homes at risk of flood damage from storm surges — more than any other metro area in the country. The total reconstruction costs of those properties is estimated at $304.5 billion. Additionally, nearly 3.4 million homes in the New York metropolitan area are at risk of damage from hurricane-force winds.
In October 2012, New York City was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Though it had weakened to a tropical storm by the time it reached New York, the storm resulted in 44 deaths in the city and damaged or destroyed more than 69,000 homes and caused $19 billion in damage and lost economic activity.
Methodology: To determine the city where hurricanes could cause the most damage, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on hurricane risk in metropolitan areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts from CoreLogic’s 2021 Hurricane Report. CoreLogic is a property information, analytics, and data provider. Metropolitan areas were ranked based on the number of single-family residential structures less than four stories at moderate or greater risk of damage from storm surge flooding in the 2021 hurricane season. Supplemental data on the estimated reconstruction cost value of the at-risk homes also came from CoreLogic and includes the cost of materials, equipment, and labor that would result from reconstruction of these homes after 100% destruction. Data on population for each metro area came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are one-year estimates.
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