More than 6.6 million homes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk of hurricane storm surge inundation, with a total reconstruction cost value of nearly $1.5 trillion.
Storm surge — the often huge mound of water that builds up and comes ashore as a hurricane moves over the ocean or Gulf of Mexico — is usually the most dangerous aspect of hurricanes. It was by far the most destructive force in Hurricanes Camille, Katrina and Sandy, according to the Storm Surge Report from CoreLogic.
"Although storm surge risk varies along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, there is no location along these shorelines that is completely free from the risk of storm surge," the report said.
The report from CoreLogic looked at risk from hurricanes in 19 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 84 metro areas.
Florida has the highest total number of properties at various risk levels (2,509,812), followed by Louisiana (760,272), New York (464,534), New Jersey (446,148), Texas (441,304) and Virginia (420,052), the report said. Those six states account for more than 75% of all at-risk homes nationally.
As for cities, the top five most at risk — both in terms of number of properties affected and the cost to rebuild — are New York, Miami, Tampa, Virginia Beach and New Orleans.
In addition to the property damage and potential lives lost to flooding, the speed and force associated with storm surge waves can significantly increase geographic and economic impact in hurricane disaster areas, the report said.