More than 283,000 homes at risk of storm surge flooding in Houston

by Rincey Abraham


Coastal and beach-front property are in high demand across the country, but those homes are also at the highest risk of storm damage. According to the 2017 CoreLogic Storm Surge Report, more than 283,000 homes in Houston are currently at risk of storm surge flooding due to hurricanes. This would result in an estimated reconstruction cost value of more than $53 billion.

The report looked at the number and reconstruction cost value of single-family residential homes in the United States that are affected by hurricanes along the coasts in the Gulf and Atlantic regions.

Regionally, CoreLogic estimates that 3 million homes are at risk from Texas through Florida along the Gulf coast, which has an estimated reconstruction cost value of $593 billion.  Texas has the third highest number of at-risk homes with more than 500,000 homes at risk, behind Louisiana and Florida. However, it comes in fifth with a reconstruction cost value of $94 billion.

Reconstruction cost value is based on 100 percent destruction of a residential property. However, it is possible that homes will only have partial damage, leading to lower reconstruction cost values.

What is storm surge flooding?

Storm surge flooding happens when water is pushed toward the shore through powerful winds, according to the report. Surge levels from a fast-moving storm are generally higher than a slow-moving storm, but a larger volume of water is pushed to shore during slow-moving storms since it takes more time for the storm to move inland and disperse.

“A low intensity storm in a population dense, residential urban area has the ability to do significantly more damage than a higher intensity hurricane along a sparsely inhabited coastline,” the report said.

Storm surge flooding has been the topic of conversation for many lawmakers in coastal towns, including Houston, as Congress considers reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, which aims to reduce the impact of flooding through flood insurance in areas that agree to participate in the program.

CoreLogic found that early estimates indicate fewer hurricanes in 2017 than 2016 and fewer than the 30-year average. However, the location of storms is more important to property loss and reconstruction costs than the strength and number of storms in a given year.

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