2021 was a historic year for natural disasters in the United States. There were a record 18 weather and climate disasters costing more than $1 billion each in the first nine months of 2021, according to a report from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Wildfires, severe storms, tornadoes, and extreme temperatures resulted in 538 deaths and $104.8 billion in damage nationwide from January through September — eclipsing totals from all of 2020.
Going forward, climate change will likely only continue to contribute to the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters, including hurricanes — the deadliest and most destructive classification of natural disaster threatening the United States. Over the past two decades, hurricanes have killed an average of over 300 Americans per year and resulted in overall damage totaling nearly $1 trillion.
Hurricanes that threaten the United States form in the North Atlantic Basin and pose a perennial risk to communities along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. According to a recent report from CoreLogic — a property information, analytics, and data provider — nearly 8 million single-family homes are at risk of storm surge damage from hurricanes, and over 31 million homes are at risk of damage from hurricane winds nationwide. These risks are disproportionately shouldered by metropolitan areas along the Eastern Seaboard and along the Gulf of Mexico.
Using data from CoreLogic’s 2021 Hurricane Report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 15 cities where hurricanes would cause the most damage. Metro areas are ranked by the number of single-family homes at risk of storm surge damage.
Over one third of the metro areas on this list are located in Florida. Another three are in Louisiana, and two are located in the Northeastern United States. Each of these places has faced the threat of major hurricane damage in recent decades — some have narrowly dodged the worst devastation, while others, like New Orleans in 2005, have not been so lucky. Here is a look at the before and after pictures of the worst hurricanes in American history.
To determine the cities where hurricanes could cause the most damage, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on hurricane risk in metropolitan areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts from CoreLogic’s 2021 Hurricane Report. CoreLogic is a property information, analytics, and data provider. Metropolitan areas were ranked based on the number of single-family residential structures less than four stories at moderate or greater risk of damage from storm surge flooding in the 2021 hurricane season. Supplemental data on the estimated reconstruction cost value of the at-risk homes also came from CoreLogic and includes the cost of materials, equipment, and labor that would result from reconstruction of these homes after 100% destruction. Data on population for each metro area came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are one-year estimates.