The report reveals that over four million homes in the U.S. along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are at risk of hurricane-driven storm-surge damage, with more than $700 billion in total property exposure.
In the Atlantic coast region alone, there are around 2.2 million homes at risk, valued at more than $500 billion. Total exposure along the Gulf Coast is nearly $200 billion, with just under 1.8 million homes at risk for potential storm-surge damage.
What this means is that there are millions of homeowners living outside of FEMA designated flood zones that might still be in an area susceptible to coastal storm-surge flooding.
CoreLogic makes the point that FEMA flood zones define areas at risk for fresh-water flooding, which is an entirely different hazard than hurricane-driven storm surge.
To illustrate its point CoreLogic compared the number of homes in surge inundation zones against those located in both surge and FEMA flood zones for each of 14 metro areas.
For example, of 463,844 total properties exposed to flood or surge inundation in the New York/Northern New Jersey/Long Island metro area, 68.1 percent are located in a surge zone, but only 1.9 percent are located in a FEMA flood zone, while 30.1 percent are located in both a flood zone and a surge zone.
Hurricane Irene in 2011 showed the level of damage that even a weak storm could cause, but CoreLogic estimates the storm surge from a Category 4 storm hitting New York City and Long Island could cause damage of nearly $168 billion.
An I.I.I. chart shows that the top 10 most costly flood events in the U.S. ranked by NFIP payouts are associated with hurricanes or tropical storms.
Andrew, the category 5 hurricane that devastated South Florida on August 24, 1992, was the first storm in a late-starting season that produced only six named storms.
NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s outlook for the 2012 season which begins June 1, says thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms, of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4, or 5).
It also cited Hurricane Irene in 2011 as a reminder that tropical systems can affect the Northeast and bring the threat of inland flooding.
NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s outlook does not predict how many storms will hit land, but earlier this week, London-based consortium Tropical Storm Risk predicted two hurricanes would make U.S. landfall in 2012, close to the 1950-2011 norm.
Irene caused major flooding as it headed northward up the Atlantic seaboard. The I.I.I. notes that Irene caused catastrophic flooding in New York and New England, especially Vermont.
Here’s the ranking:
TOP TEN MOST COSTLY HURRICANES IN THE UNITED STATES (1)
Estimated insured loss (2)
Aug. 25-30, 2005
AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, TN
Aug. 24-26, 1992
Sep. 12-14, 2008
AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, OH, PA, TX
Oct. 24, 2005
Aug. 13-14, 2004
FL, NC, SC
Sep. 15-21, 2004
AL, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NJ, NY, NC,
OH, PA, TN, VA, WV
Sep. 17-22, 1989
GA, NC, PR, SC, VA, U.S. Virgin Islands
Sep. 20-26, 2005
AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, TN, TX
Sep. 3-9, 2004
FL, GA, NY, NC, SC
Aug. 26-28, 2011
CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT
(1) Includes hurricanes occurring through 2011.
(2) Property coverage only. Does not include flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(3) Adjusted for inflation through 2011 by ISO using the GDP implicit price deflator.
Source: The Property Claim Services (PCS) unit of ISO, a Verisk Analytics company.
Despite its forecast for lower activity, the CSU team stresses that there is inherent uncertainty in seasonal tropical cyclone (TC) prediction and that hurricanes can make landfall in inactive seasons and do major damage (e.g. Hurricane Alicia in 1983 and Andrew in 1992).
The CSU team presents four possible scenarios for the season ahead, based on the strength of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation (THC) and the phase of El NiÃƒ ±o Ã¢â‚¬“ Southern Oscillation (ENSO):
– A 45 percent chance that the THC continues in the above-average condition it has been in since 1995 and a significant El NiÃƒ ±o develops resulting in a seasonal average net tropical cyclone (NTC) activity of 85, suggesting 8-11 named storms, 4-6 hurricanes, 1-2 major hurricanes.
– A 25 percent chance of a continuing above-average THC and no El NiÃƒ ±o develops, resulting in NTC activity of 130, with 12-15 named storms, 6-9 hurricanes, 3-4 major hurricanes.
– A 25 percent chance that the THC becomes weaker and a significant El NiÃƒ ±o develops, resulting in NTC activity of 50, with 5-7 named storms, 2-4 hurricanes, 0-1 major hurricanes.
– A 5 percent chance that THC becomes unusually strong in 2012 and no El NiÃƒ ±o develops resulting in NTC activity of 180, with 14-17 named storms, 9-11 hurricanes, 4-5 major hurricanes.
AÃ‚ full discussion of the CSU team’s 2012 Atlantic basin hurricane forecast will follow on April 4.
As the Palm Beach PostÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Eye On the Storm blog notes, for the first time in 29 years, the CSU team is limiting its December forecast to probabilities rather than estimating the number of tropical storms that will form, which will become hurricanes, and which of those will be major hurricanes.
The CSU team expects the 2012 Atlantic basin hurricane season will be primarily determined by the strength of the THC/AMO and by the state of ENSO.
So what can we glean about next yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hurricane activity from their discussion?
– A 45 percent chance that the THC continues in the above-average condition it has been in since 1995 and no El NiÃƒ ±o develops resulting in a seasonal average net tropical cyclone (NTC) activity of 140, suggesting 12-15 named storms, 7-9 hurricanes, 3-4 major hurricanes.
– A 30 percent chance of a continuing above-average THC with the development of a significant El NiÃƒ ±o, resulting in NTC activity of 75, with 8-11 named storms, 3-5 hurricanes, 1-2 major hurricanes.
– A 15 percent chance that THC circulation becomes unusually strong in 2012 and no El NiÃƒ ±o develops resulting in NTC activity of 180, with 14-17 named storms, 9-11 hurricanes, 4-5 major hurricanes.
– A 10 percent chance of a weaker THC and a significant El NiÃƒ ±o resulting in NTC activity of 40, with 5-7 named storms, 2-3 hurricanes, 0-1 major hurricanes.
Come back April 4 for the CSU teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s update of its 2012 Atlantic basin hurricane forecast.
The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season officially comes to a close today and as we reflect on what was another active season, hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a recap by the numbers, courtesy of NOAA.
Note to readers: NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s totals include a post-storm upgrade of Tropical Storm Nate to hurricane status, and the addition of a short-lived unnamed tropical storm that formed in early September between Bermuda and Nova Scotia:
1: Irene was the only hurricane to make landfall in the United States in 2011 and the first to do so since Ike struck southeast Texas in 2008.
19: The total number of tropical storms this season, representing the third-highest total (tied with 1887, 1995 and 2010) since records began in 1951.
7: The number of tropical storms that became hurricanes in 2011, including three major hurricanes.
2005: The last year a major hurricane (Category 3, 4, or 5 with top winds of 111mph and greater) hit the U.S.
A few additional facts from other sources:
$4.3 billion: Estimated insured damages caused by Hurricane Irene, according to ISO as of November.
Given the timing of Hurricane Irene, close to six years since Hurricane Katrina, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inevitable that this will lead some to draw comparisons.
PropertyCasualty360.com has an interesting piece on why itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possible the insurance industry will face similar issues that arose with Hurricane Katrina and its wind vs. water discussion.
While itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s too early to tell just yet what proportion of Irene damage is the result of flooding, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important to reiterate that flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies.
It cites experts at the Wharton Risk Center saying that based on their analyses of NFIP data, it is very likely that many homeowners with damage from Hurricane Irene will not have purchased flood insurance even if they are required to have it.
According to Howard Kunreuther, co-director of WhartonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center and cited in the article, it is also unlikely homeowners will have invested in measures to reduce losses from hurricanes.
As clean up efforts get underway on the U.S. East Coast and in the Northeast following Hurricane Irene,Ã‚ one question on many peoplesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ minds is whether their insurance covers fallen trees.
The good news is that if a tree hits a home or other insured structure due to wind, standard homeowners policies provide coverage for the damage the tree does to the structure and the contents in it.
It does not matter whether or not you own the tree. If it lands on your home, you should file a claim with your insurance company, the I.I.I. says.
If a tree hits an insured structure, such as your house or garage, there is also coverage for the cost of removing the tree, generally up to about $500 to $1,000, depending on the insurer and the type of policy purchased.
The I.I.I.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s Jeanne Salvatore has the answers to your fallen tree questions in this video: