Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Surging Danger

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Surging Danger

Article excerpt

HURRICANES

More than 320,000 homes in Southwest Florida are at risk of a hurricane storm surge, with a potential rebuilding tab topping $61 billion.

Florida, surrounded by water, has the most homes at risk of a storm surge and the highest reconstruction cost value in the U.S., according to an annual study by data provider CoreLogic.

The start of the 2015 hurricane season on June 1 brought renewed attention to the potential damage that could be caused by a major storm. While it has been 10 seasons since a hurricane made landfall in Florida, experts say the risk of storm surge damage remains high.

"The number of hurricanes each year is less important than the location of where the next hurricane will come ashore," said Tom Jeffery, senior hazard risk scientist at CoreLogic.

"It only takes one hurricane that pushes storm surge into a major metropolitan areas for the damage to tally in the billions of dollars. With new home construction, and any amount of sea-level rise, the number of homes at risk of storm surge damage will continue to increase," he said.

In Sarasota and Manatee counties, 229,889 homes have locations that make them in low to extreme storm surge risk levels, CoreLogic says. They have an estimated reconstruction cost value of $42.3 billion.

Of those, 42,389 homes are in the "extreme" risk zone, meaning they would be affected by all hurricane category levels.

In Charlotte County, 93,151 homes are storm-surge candidates, with an estimated rebuild cost of $19 billion. Among them are 44,497 homes that would be affected by any hurricane.

Statewide, 2.5 million at-risk homes would cost $491.1 billion to rebuild.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region ranked third among major U.S. metro areas, with 447,990 properties that would cost $78.1 billion to replace.

Louisiana was second for the number of homes with 760,272, but third in value at $162 billion. …

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