While there’s much focus on storm surge risk in New Orleans as we mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, two new reports highlight the vulnerability of other U.S. coastal cities to storm surge flooding.
An analysis by Karen Clark & Co ranks the U.S. cities most vulnerable to storm surge flooding based on losses to residential, commercial and industrial properties from the 100 year hurricane.
The findings may surprise you.
KCC reveals that some of the cities most vulnerable to storm surge flooding have not been impacted for decades. A few have not experienced a direct hit from a major hurricane in the historical record.
Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida is the metropolitan area most vulnerable to storm surge flooding, according to KCC, with a loss potential of $175 billion.
Four of the top cities (Tampa, Miami, Fort Myers and Sarasota) are in Florida, and the west coast of the state is more vulnerable than the east coast.
In fact, three cities—Tampa, New Orleans and New York—will likely have losses exceeding $100 billion from the 100 year event.
KCC notes that most of the flood damage potential is currently not insured, and that “private flood insurance presents a significant opportunity for insurers that have the right tools for understanding the risk.”
Meanwhile, a new report by catastrophe modeling firm RMS, took a look at six coastal cities in the U.S. to evaluate how losses from storm surge are expected to increase in the next 85 years and found that cities such as Tampa, Miami and New York face greater risk of economic loss from storm surge.
To evaluate risk, RMS compared the chance of each city sustaining at least $15 billion in economic losses from storm surge—the amount of loss that would occur if the same area of New Orleans was flooded today as was flooded in 2005.
Based on its findings, Tampa has a 1-in-80 chance of experiencing at least $15 billion storm surge losses this year, followed by Miami with a 1-in-125 chance and New York with a 1-in-200 chance.
New Orleans still faces significant risk, with a 1-in-440 chance of at least $15 billion in economic losses related to a storm surge event, RMS noted.
Looking ahead to 2100, the likelihood of those cities sustaining this level of losses rises dramatically.
By then both Tampa and Miami will have a 1-in-30 chance of experiencing at least $15 billion in economic losses related to a storm surge event, while in New York the chance increases to 1-in-45 and in New Orleans to 1-in-315.
Here’s the visual on RMS’ findings via its infographic: