New York City's metropolitan area has the highest financial and property risks in the U.S. in the event of a hurricane-driven storm surge, according to a new study.
Data analysis firm CoreLogic released on Thursday its 2012 Storm Surge Fact Tables Report, and the findings reveal that the NYC metro area, including New Jersey and Long Island, has the highest number of vulnerable properties in the event of an extreme Category 4 or 5 storm.
A potential 455,255 properties could be affected, with an estimated value of $168 billion, according to the report.
Among the top 10 zip codes that would be affected by a Category 4 storm, two neighborhoods in Brooklyn -- Sheepshead Bay and Bergen Beach, both in the south part of the borough -- are the only parts of New York City on the list.
Storm surge is a rise in water generated by a storm. The abnormal rise in water washes ashore when a hurricane moves over the ocean. It can cause extreme flooding in coastal areas and is considered the greatest threat to life and property along the coasts.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Katrina is a good example of the type of damage that can happen from a surge. The 2005 disaster claimed the lives of at least 1,500 people, many of whose deaths directly or indirectly resulted from a storm surge.
On the national level, the report finds that more than four million homes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk of hurricane-driven storm-surge damage. There's more than $700 billion in total property exposure along those areas.
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, said Howard Botts, CoreLogic vice president . Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm as it passed through New Jersey and New York City, but the impact of the storm was still estimated at as much as $6 billion.
The thought of storm surge damage is usually associated with places such as Miami and New Orleans. A recently published report from Colorado State University found that for New York, the impact probability from a hurricane this year is 7 percent while for Florida it is 47 percent.
By CoreLogic's findings, Florida tops the lists of states most prone to storm-surge damage, with approximately 1.4 million homes at risk. The total value is estimated at $188 billion. Louisiana places second for the total properties at risk (500,000) and New York ranks second in total value of coastal properties possibly exposed at $111 billion.
On the national level, more than four million homes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk of hurricane-driven storm-surge damage. More than $700 billion in total property exposure has been estimated.
In the Atlantic Coast region alone, there are nearly 2.2 million homes at risk, valued more than $500 billion. As for the Gulf Coast, total exposure is nearly $200 billion, with a little under 1.8 million homes at risk for potential storm-surge damage, CoreLogic's report stated.
Top 5 Metropolitan Areas Affected
1. New York - Northern New Jersey - Long Island
Potential property affected: 455,255
Total estimated structure value: More than $168 billion
2. Virginia Beach, Va.
Potential property affected: 290, 522
Total estimated structure value: More than $46 billion
3. Miami -- Fort Lauderdale- Pompano Beach, Fla.
Potential property affected: 229,413
Total estimated structure value: More than $42 billion
4. New Orleans - Metairie - Kenner, La.
Potential property affected: 276,930
Total estimated structure value: More than $38 billion
5. Tampa - St. Petersburg- Clearwater, Fla.
Potential property affected: 283,603
Total estimated structure value: More than $28 billion
New York Metropolitan Areas Top 10 Zip Codes Potentially Affected by Category 4 Storm:
1. 08008 - Beach Haven, N.J.
Properties potentially affected: 13,538
2. 11795 - West Islip, N.Y.
Properties potentially affected: 4,859
3. 11758 - Massapequa, N.Y.
Properties potentially affected: 8,482
4. 11901 - Riverhead, N.Y.
Properties potentially affected: 2,190
5. 11234 - Brooklyn, N.Y.
Properties potentially affected: 10,518
6. 08742 - Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.
Properties potentially affected: 9,365
7. 11706 - Bay Shore, N.Y.
Properties potentially affected: 2,777
8. 11730 - East Islip, N.Y.
Properties potentially affected: 3,066
9. 08753 - Toms River, N.J.
Properties potentially affected: 10,053
10. 11229 - Brooklyn, N.Y.
Properties potentially affected: 6,171
Read the full report.