New study reminder of damaging effects of storm surge
Storm surge as a result of Hurricane Dennis in 2005. Photo courtesy: U.S. Geological Survey
In recent years, Hurricane Ike and more recently Sandy have clearly shown that storm surge poses a major risk to properties – particularly older homes and businesses that are built below the latest recommended elevation requirements. A report by the Science Team at NBCnews.com takes a look at the latest study regarding storm surge risks and hurricane activity. The full study was published in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Regardless of the cause of storm surge, there is no doubt about its devastating effects on coastal properties, says the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). In a post-disaster field investigation following Hurricane Ike in 2008, IBHS recommended that buildings be built to higher elevation requirements based on the best practices of building science. The IBHS recommendation is based on the fact that using a 1 percent annual probability of occurrence elevation requirement means there is a 40 percent chance that the storm surge level will be met or exceeded in 50 years. This puts properties at risk of being damaged by surge. By using the IBHS recommended 0.2 percent annual probability of exceedance elevation requirement, the probability that storm surge will exceed the elevation drops to 10 percent in 50 years. The result is safer, stronger homes and businesses.
IBHS echoed this recommendation in the post-Sandy recovery guidance provided to its members insurers and reinsurers and to decision-makers in New Jersey and New York as rebuilding began. Read more about the IBHS Post-Sandy Recovery Resources.
© 2012 Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety