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As Coastal Building Continues, More Homes At Risk From Storm Surge

In Houston alone, more than 284,000 homes are facing some level of risk from storm surge.

An infrared satellite image shows Hurricane Harvey just prior to making landfall on Aug. 25, 2017.

More homes being built on the Texas Gulf Coast means, naturally, more homes that could be hit by hurricanes.

With the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season starting Friday, a new report from the financial services firm CoreLogic tallies up the growing number of Texas properties at risk from storm surge.

The report found that Texas has almost 544,000 homes facing some risk of storm surge. 39,109 of those face “extreme” risks from storm surge – which the report defines as risks from hurricanes of any size – but all the homes identified face a “low” risk of storm surge from a Category 5 hurricane, the largest on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

In Houston, the report pointed to 284,622 homes at risk of storm surge.

If any homes get hit this year in particular, it will be more expensive to fix them, according to CoreLogic Senior Hazard Scientist Tom Jeffery.

“As the demand increases for materials and labor, sometimes that cost can rise, and obviously there’s still rebuilding going on from Harvey last year,” he said.

More broadly, the report found that homes across the U.S. Gulf Coast are facing more than $609 billion in total potential damages from hurricanes, an increase of more than $16 billion since 2017.

Researchers have proposed different ideas for massive physical barriers on the Texas coast near Galveston, but those plans haven’t seen much movement yet.

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Travis Bubenik

Travis Bubenik

Energy & Environment Reporter

Travis Bubenik reports on the tangled intersections of energy and the environment in Houston and across Texas. A Houston native and proud Longhorn, he returned to the Bayou City after serving as the Morning Edition Host & Reporter for Marfa Public Radio in Far West Texas. Bubenik was previously the...

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