Let’s start by asking: what is a storm surge? The National Weather Service provides the following definition: “a storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide.”
Did you know a storm surge is one of the most lethal parts of a hurricane? In 1970, nearly 500,000 people were killed in the Bay of Bengal following the deadliest storm surge in history. In the United States, Hurricane Katrina created one of the worst storm surges with water levels of more than 25 feet throughout affected communities – 41.5 feet in Waveland, Mississippi.
CoreLogic, a leader in property data analysis, projects that more than 6 million residential properties are at risk of a storm surge caused by hurricanes in 2015 on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, which could account for $1.5 trillion in Reconstruction Cost Value.
Nearly 20 states are at risk. Over three quarters of the 6.6 million houses at risk of storm surge are located in only six states:
1. Florida (2.5 million at-risk homes)
2. Louisiana (760k at-risk homes)
3. New York (464k at-risk homes)
4. New Jersey (446k at-risk homes)
5. Texas (441k at-risk homes)
6. Virginia (420k at-risk homes)
Since Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana 15 years ago, the most recent Category 5 hurricane in the United States, only one-fourth of Louisiana’s at-risk homes are considered in the extreme storm surge category due to the upgrade of levees since Katrina struck.
Cities that rank highest in the number of houses at risk, as well as total Reconstruction Cost Value, include:
1. New York – Newark, NY-NJ-PA
2. Miami – Fort Lauderdale – West Palm Beach, FL
3. Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater, FL
4. Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News, VA-NC
5. New Orleans – Metairie, LA
Although these are grave statistics, many industry professionals predict a quiet 2015 storm season. However, it’s always best to be ready and keep your loved ones safe in the event of a hurricane.
– Research if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone and get to know your zone.
– During a storm, do not use generators indoors, do not go down to your basement where floods occur first, do not drive through high levels of water, and leave your home once an evacuation is issued.
– Prior to a storm, create an Emergency Preparedness Kit:
• Use a clear portable container
• 3-day supply of water and non-perishable food
• Can opener and utility knife
• Battery-powered weather radio
• Cellphone charger
• Extra batteries
• Copies of insurance policies, identification and bank records
• Prescriptions, medical supplies
• First-Aid Kit
We hope these few tips will help keep you safe during hurricane season. Please remember that if you experience any property damage from fire, water, mold or storms to Call Paul. We’re here 24/7 to help you!