Real Estate

A History-Making Hurricane Brings High Flash Flood Risk To More Than 7.2 Million Homes In Florida

As Hurricane Ian rips through Florida as one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S., CoreLogic, a data analytics provider, estimates that 7.2 million single- and multifamily residences with a combined total reconstruction value of $1.6 trillion are within the moderate and high flash flood risk bands, as forecasted by the National Hurricane Center.

Frenzied residents and businesses have boarded up their homes and shops, packed their belongings and evacuated to higher ground as they brace for a catastrophic impact.

“This forecast does not indicate every single home within these bands will flood, nor that any flooded home will sustain 100% damage up to its full reconstruction value,” said Jon Schneyer, senior catastrophe response manager at CoreLogic. “This estimate accounts for flash flooding only and excludes homes that are at risk to river and coastal flooding.”

He explained, “Many have used Hurricane Charley in 2004 as a historical analog for Hurricane Ian, but despite similar strength and landfall location, the two storms are very different. First, Hurricane Ian is much larger, with a wind field that is more than double that of Hurricane Charley. Second, Hurricane Ian is moving forward more slowly. Charley made landfall at more than twice the speed of Ian. Both factors have significant impacts on not only the number of homes that will experience hurricane-force winds across Florida, but these factors will greatly magnify the storm surge and precipitation-induced inland flooding.”

Schneyer said Hurricane Ian’s impact on Florida residents appears to be a worst-case scenario, combining the most dangerous components of three infamous landfalling hurricanes: Andrew (1992), Katrina (2004) and Irma (2017).

“Hurricane Ian made landfall in a densely populated area with major hurricane-force winds and is expected to remain at hurricane status—with windspeeds over 74 mph—for hours impacting thousands of homes across the entire state,” said Schneyer. “Storm surge depths of up to 18 feet above the ground surface may flood thousands of homes. Finally, constant and often torrential downpours will inundate the relatively flat state of Florida for several days after landfall. As of today, five-day rainfall depths of up to 20 inches are expected across portions of the state.”