Virginia's coming hurricane wind crisis
The number of Richmond buildings vulnerable to hurricane-related wind damage could rise by more than 1,260% over the next 30 years.
- 51,700 buildings could be vulnerable by 2053, compared to 3,800 today.
That's based on new research from the nonprofit First Street Foundation, using peer-reviewed computer modeling of the intensity and tracks of more than 50,000 simulated tropical cyclones in a warming climate.
- The researchers made projections for a 1-in-3,000-years storm, meaning such an event has a 0.0333% chance of hitting in any given year — a likelihood commonly used in setting building codes.
Why it matters: How hurricane-related wind damage risks are priced into insurance policies and whether they are disclosed to prospective home buyers has major implications for the real estate and insurance industries.
- The threat will expand into inland areas previously considered out of reach for most such storms.
Zoom in: Of the 20 counties in the country expected to face some of the highest increases in economic losses over 30 years, nine are in Virginia.
- By percentage, Newport News is expected to see a 157% increase, from an annual loss of $3.3 million in 2023 to $8.4 million in 2053.
- But in gross cost, Virginia Beach is expected to grow from around a loss of $31 million in 2023 to $52 million in 2053 — about the same loss some parts of Florida see today.
💨 Of [very windy] note: Most of the counties expected to see the largest increases in maximum wind speeds over the next 30 years are in Central Virginia — places where historic building codes likely didn't account for hurricane force winds.
- Amelia, Goochland, Chesterfield and Culpeper are four of the top five counties expected to see the highest increase in gust speeds by 2053.
Zoom out: More than 13.4 million properties nationwide will be newly exposed to tropical storm force or greater wind risk in 30 years.
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