Nearly 827,000 South Florida Homes at Risk From Hurricane Storm Surge

Here’s some gloomy news to go with the start of hurricane season: Nearly 827,000 homes across South Florida are at risk from storm surge and collectively have a potential reconstruction value of $167 billion.

This ranks the region second in the U.S. after the New York City-Newark-Jersey City region as the most exposed to ocean water pushed inland by hurricane winds, a CoreLogic Inc. study found.

This doesn’t necessarily mean 827,000 homes would be damaged and it would cost $167 billion to repair them after one storm or one season. Instead, it’s the number of exposed homes and how much it would cost to rebuild them assuming all were destroyed. Actual storm damage would depend on a storm’s strength and path.

“The problem is we are not looking at a single storm event. We are trying to give you an overview of the homes that are at risk and then the potential for how much total damage if everything was completely destroyed,” said Tom Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic and one of the study’s authors. “If we can say, here’s a Category 5 and it’s headed right toward Fort Lauderdale, well certainly we can pick out homes that are in the path of that storm. But if there were no storm, there are homes in that area that are still going to be at risk. We try to identify them well in advance of any single storm coming up so that people are better able to prepare for that and identify if their property is at risk.”

CoreLogic, based in Irvine, California, is an analytics and intelligence provider for property, financial and consumer data. The study was based on hurricane simulations accounting for different paths and strengths, said Jeffery, who is based in Madison, Wisconsin.

In total, 826,757 homes are at risk in the Miami metropolitan area, which stretches up to West Palm Beach and surrounding areas but doesn’t cover everything in all three counties. This breaks down to 791,775 single-family homes plus 35,982 apartment and condominium units. In the New York region, a total of 831,713 homes are at risk.

The reconstruction cost for single-family homes at risk in South Florida is $158 billion, and condos and apartments add $9.2 billion, again assuming total destruction.

“The 100% is really the only way we can provide this without really making radically wild guesses at what would be partially damaged and what wouldn’t,” Jeffery said. “It would be more of an inaccurate guess to make an assumption that these homes are 20%, these homes are 50%, these homes are 100% damaged.”


Source: DBR