More homes at risk of storm surge in Southwest Florida [7-27-16]
Article Courtesy of The Herald-Tribune
By John Hielscher
Published July 27, 2016
More than 340,000 homes in Southwest Florida are at risk of hurricane storm surge, with a potential rebuilding cost topping $65 billion.
The Sarasota-Bradenton area ranked eighth among major U.S. metro areas for storm surge risk, according to an annual study by data provider CoreLogic.
A nine-unit condominium in the Florida Panhandle town of Seagrove Beach was condemned after it was damaged by storm surge from Hurricane Dennis in 2005. A new study shows that 23,176 homes in Southwest Florida would be affected by even the weakest storm’s surge, 19,200 fewer than were rated at extreme risk last year.
Of those, 23,176 are at “extreme” risk, meaning they would be affected by even the weakest storm’s surge. But with the company’s new analysis, that is 19,200 fewer homes than were rated at extreme risk last year.
In Charlotte County, 93,069 homes are storm-surge candidates, with an estimated rebuilding cost of $18.3 billion. Among them are 23,924 homes that would be affected by any hurricane, some 20,500 less than last year.
Statewide, 2.7 million at-risk homes would cost more than $535.6 billion to rebuild.
Louisiana ranked second to Florida, with 800,521 homes at risk and a potential rebuilding cost of $184.3 billion.
Nationwide, more than 6.8 million homes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are threatened with hurricane storm inundation, with a reconstruction cost topping $1.5 trillion.
Hurricane forecasters are calling for a slightly below- to slightly above-average season this year. A typical season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project has forecast 12 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes. The prediction from Accuweather calls for 14 named storms and eight hurricanes, four of them major. The Weather Channel/Weather Co. projects 14 named storms and eight hurricanes, three of them major.
A decade without a hurricane has left Florida in its strongest standpoint ever to face the annual storm season.
Most private insurers are in good shape. The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe fund, a program that backs the private market as well as the state-owned Citizens Property Insurance, has enough cash to financially withstand a major storm.
Floridians still pay the highest average property insurance premiums in the country, at $2,115 a year for a typical homeowner’s policy. The national average, based on 2013 premiums, was $1,096, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.