This City Has the Highest Hurricane Risk on the East Coast

Is your home at risk?

As infamous storms like Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey have shown, tropical storms leave nothing but catastrophic destruction in their wake. And the damage from raging hurricane floods will persistently get worse if sea levels continue to rise at an accelerating rate due to global warming, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In fact, global warming will make strong hurricanes, like Category 4s and 5s, more frequent. Find out exactly what hurricane categories mean.

The Caribbean islands are especially vulnerable to these tropical storms, as evidenced by Hurricane Dorian devastating the Bahamas in September 2019. But many hurricanes prove to be a threat to cities in the southeastern United States, too.

Since coastal states in the south are extremely susceptible to getting hit hard by hurricanes, it’s no surprise that Miami, Florida tops the list as the most vulnerable city at risk of being hit by a hurricane, according to data from the NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division. “Miami has a large population density, and as a result, the effects of a major hurricane would be catastrophic to the city,” meteorologist David Samuhel told accuweather.com. “Miami is probably the largest city on this list to see a Category 4 or 5 hurricane in the future.”

Hurricane data from the past 126 years shows that a hurricane will pass within 50 miles of Miami every six to eight years. Researchers estimate that Miami has a 16 percent chance of experiencing the impacts of a hurricane in any given year. “These numbers are not based upon property damage but instead focus on the chances that a hurricane will strike a region based upon factors such as geography and location,” hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski told AccuWeather. Find out why hurricanes always tend to stick to the southern region of the northern hemisphere.

Plus, Miami has the perfect conditions for a hurricane to wreak havoc: It sits at a maximum of 42 feet above sea level and holds a large population density within 20 miles of its coastline. A 2018 storm surge report from CoreLogic, a provider of consumer, financial, and property data, reveals that more than 788,000 homes in Miami are at risk of a storm surge (rising sea levels from atmospheric pressure changes and wind associated with a storm), which would cost nearly $156 billion in repairs. New York City came in as a close second with more than 726,000 homes at risk of a storm surge with a whopping reconstruction value of $277 billion!

And how is this high-risk city faring during Hurricane Dorian? Well, according to the Miami Herald, Miami-Dade County is currently bracing for strong winds, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour, and it and the counties directly to the north of it are under coastal flood advisories. For more information on how to keep your home and family safe during a hurricane, visit the redcross.org and make sure you do these things you must do to prepare your home for a storm.

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Ashley Lewis
Ashley is an Assistant Editor at Reader’s Digest. She received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. Before joining Reader’s Digest, she was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News and interned at Seventeen and FOX News. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for rd.com, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.