Tampa Bay facing significant storm surge risk this hurricane season

By The Numbers
Sandbags in high demand across Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine slowly makes its way toward Florida, new research is finding that the Tampa Bay area is one of the most vulnerable to storm surge in the country.

Groundworks Companies analyzed geographic vulnerabilities with single-family home values to find out which cities have the highest risk for a potential reconstruction cost after a major storm. 

The findings put Tampa as the third-most vulnerable to storm surge with 465,644 properties at risk, potentially costing up to $84 billion in reconstruction costs.

Tampa was not far behind Miami and New York City which have 791,775 and 731,137 properties at risk, respectively.

But it isn’t the first study to expose the area’s vulnerability to storm surge.

In 2019, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council released an updated version of its “Project Phoenix,” a plan to address the challenges of response and recovery during a catastrophic event in the Tampa Bay area.

Using a Category 5 simulation storm called Hurricane Phoenix, the council projected that downtown Tampa would encounter more than 21 feet of water and could face 2,000 fatalities and up to $250 billion in economic losses for the Tampa Bay metro area.

Source: Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council

Impacts of such a storm could reach as far north as Citrus Springs, with the heaviest storm surge impacts on South St. Petersburg and South Tampa.

For now, the Max Defender 8 Weather Team encourages the community to prepare a hurricane plan with the help of WFLA’s 2020 Hurricane Guide.


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