Top 10 cities at risk from hurricane damage

  • (MoneyWatch) Storm surge damage from a hurricane or tropical storm can devastate a city, leaving destroyed homes, standing water and debris in its wake, miles away from any coastline.

    This year, more than 4.2 million homes are at risk from storm surge, which could cause more than $1 trillion in damage, according to a recently released storm surge report by CoreLogic, a property analysis and data firm. Vulnerability is so widespread that more than 75 percent of major cities could be underwater after a major storm.

    Storm surge is the rising tide of water that is pushed inland by the high winds of hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricane Katrina washed ocean waters up to 12 miles inland along the coast of Mississippi. Last year, Hurricane Isaac caused an 11-foot storm surge that affected 59,000 homes and caused $2.3 billion in damage.

    Still, Hurricane Sandy -- which wasn't even technically a hurricane by the time it hit land -- was the most devastating storm of 2012, causing more than a 12-foot surge in some areas, damaging 650,000 homes and killing 72 people.

    What cities are at risk for suffering that kind of damage this year?

    While it's impossible to predict exactly which cities are at the greatest risk for hurricanes as we enter a new season, CoreLogic did name the cities with the most homes at risk for water damage from hurricanes and tropical storms, based on the location of the homes and the population density.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.