Solving Cities

Which cities are at greatest risk if a hurricane strikes?

Which cities are at greatest risk if a hurricane strikes?

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Are the cities most at risk the ones best prepared?

When it comes to hurricane risk, it's Florida and the Gulf Coast who frequently come to mind. For residents of these areas, disaster preparedness gear like storm shutters, generators, and plywood, is a part of life. Yet according to a report out June 7, the cities with the greatest risk for hurricane-related storm damage aren't the usual suspects.

The study, conducted by CoreLogic, suggests that it is Atlantic Coast cities like New York City and Virginia Beach, rather than those on the Gulf Coast, who have the most to lose. According to the report, if an extreme weather system were to hit New York City, an urban area with many homes and businesses just above sea level, the cost could soar to more than $48 billion. In urban areas like New York City, even a small storm can cause a great deal of damage.

"The summer of 2011 gave us some startling insight into the damage that even a weak storm can cause in the New York City metro area," CoreLogic vice president Howard Botts said in a June 7 press statement.

Hurricane Irene, which slowed to a tropical storm as it passed through New York City last August, cost New York City $55 million. For many, even that figure was greeted with relief. "We got lucky," Joe Coscarelli of New York pointed out days later.

Which other cities face tremendous costs if a storm surge were to hit? According to CoreLogic, the top 10 cities facing the largest risk include:

  1. New York, Ny.
  2. Virginia Beach, Va.
  3. Miami, Fl.
  4. New Orleans, Lo.
  5. Tampa, Fl.
  6. Boston, Ma.
  7. Houston, Tx.
  8. Cape Coral, Fl.
  9. Jacksonville, Fl.
  10. Charleston, Sc.

What should you do in the event of a storm? See the "Hurricane Safety Checklist" produced by the Red Cross.

[Reuters]

Photo: Hurricane Irene Makes Landfall in North Carolina, NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

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Claire Lambrecht

Contributing Writer

Claire Lambrecht has written for the New York Times, Slate, Salon, The Nation, and CBS MoneyWatch. Previously, she taught English as a Teach for America Corps Member and Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. She holds degrees from Cornell University, the University of Hawaii, and the Arthur M. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure