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Water-Related News

In Sarasota-Manatee, the storm surge threat grows

More than 368,000 residences in Southwest Florida are in danger of hurricane storm surge, with a potential rebuilding cost topping $77 billion.

For the fourth straight year, the Sarasota-Manatee area ranked eighth among major U.S. metro areas for storm surge risk, according to a study released Thursday by real estate database CoreLogic.

With the 2019 hurricane season starting Saturday, Florida remains the state with the most homes at risk of a storm surge and with the highest reconstruction cost in the U.S.

Some 7.3 million homes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts sit in danger from hurricane-driven waves.

“Damage from storm surge and inland flooding has proven to be far more destructive than wind in recent years, so we cannot rely on the hurricane category alone to give us a sense of the potential loss,” said Tom Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic. “A Category 5 hurricane in an area with few structures may be far less devastating than a Category 1 hurricane in a densely populated area.”

Hurricane Irma ripped through Southwest Florida as it traversed the state in September 2017, the first hurricane to strike the area since Charley in 2004. Hurricane Michael stuck the Panhandle last October.