2011 has been a record-breaking year for the US in terms of natural disasters, with hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires and tornados all wreaking havoc this year. In fact, the disasters have been so commonplace that the current cost estimate for the damage is reckoned to be $52 billion, a total that is still growing, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A new report from the CoreLogic Natural Hazard Risk Summary and Analysis Group makes for interesting reading, especially in the context of how disasters are affecting housing in the US:
This year’s hurricane season was the most expensive since 2008. Three hurricanes made landfall on the mainland in 2011, most notably Hurricane Katrina, causing damage estimated at $8 billion, mostly from flooding.
A significant number of homes in California, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma were lost as a result of wildfires sweeping through those states. Both Texas and Oklahoma recorded record numbers of wildfires in 2011 – one notable event was the Bastrop fire in Texas, which destroyed 1,600 buildings, burning an area of 34,000 acres in total. And there may be worse to come, as the report predicts California to see a big increase in the number of wildfires next year.
A total of 1,559 tornado storms were recorded in 2011. Between April 25th and April 28th alone, we saw 336 tornados rip through the Northeast, Midwest and South regions. As a result, insurers are now looking to re-evaluate the risk of tornado damage.
Damages attributed to flooding cost around $10.67 billion in 2011, according to CoreLogic. The most significant floods were seen along the Mississippi River, where record levels of rainfall and melting snow contributed to some of the worst floods in living memory. Hurricane Katrina also brought devastating floods to the North East coastline. Flooding in 2011 has led to an increased awareness of the risk of flooding even outside of FEMA 100-year flood zones, say CoreLogic, who say that there is an urgent need to raise flood protection standards in the US for critical and strategic infrastructure.
To download a full copy of the report, visit the CoreLogic website.