During hurricane season, a storm surges could cause most devastation

Local News
Hurricane readiness - Corey 5:30 am hit

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) –  With hurricane season in full swing, new reports are supporting evidence that wind isn't the biggest threat during a hurricane, but water is.

A new report from data analysis company CoreLogic, analyzed 19 states along 3,700 miles of coastline between Texas and Maine to show that 7.3 million homes are at risk of being destroyed during a hurricane storm surge. 

With 2.9 million residences at risk of coastal flooding during a storm surge, Florida topped the list of number of homes at risk. Tampa's 12,103 homes at risk earned the city its No. 5 ranking out of 15 coastal, metropolitan areas surveyed 

“Damage from storm surge and inland flooding has proven to be far more destructive than wind in recent years, so we cannot rely on the hurricane category alone to give us a sense of the potential loss," said senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic, Tom Jeffery, in a press release. "A Category 5 hurricane in an area with few structures may be far less devastating than a Category 1 hurricane in a densely populated area.”

Some hurricanes with the most catastrophic damage have been from storm surge flooding. 

Hurricane Katrina, which did not affect Florida, saw storm surges bring water levels 25-28 feet above normal tide levels. The flooding caused $75 billion in damage for Louisiana and surrounding areas. 

Take a look at the chart below to see other storm surge damage from hurricanes in the last 30 years.


Notable surge events and the cost

Here are some of the most notable hurricane-related storm surges of the past 30 years and the amount of damage each storm surge caused. Hover over the bar to see the exact number.


These figures are in billions of dollars. Hover over the bar to see the exact number.


Source: NOAA

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