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Hampton Roads, VA Flood Risk mapIf a major hurricane hit Hampton Roads, floodwaters from the storm's surge could damage more than one-third of the homes in the region, according to a report released Tuesday.

Less than one-eighth of those nearly 289,000 homes that would be affected are inside federally designated flood zones, according to CoreLogic, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based mortgage and real estate data firm.

The company estimated the total value of properties at risk at roughly $44.6 billion. Of the 10 metro areas CoreLogic studied, Hampton Roads had the most individual properties at risk, and other only two others - Miami and Long Island, N.Y. - had more dollars at stake.

"In many cases, homes exposed to potential storm-surge inundation are located outside of designated flood zones, and those homeowners need to be aware of their vulnerability to severe damage and property losses," Howard Botts, executive vice president and director of database development for CoreLogic Spatial Solutions, said in a news release.

The report found that more than 1.8 million homes in the areas studied along the Atlantic and Gulf and coasts are at risk from storm surges. Roughly two-thirds of those are outside Federal Emergency Management Agency flood zones.

CoreLogic used computer models to generate the probability of a hurricane hitting a region and also used the models to determine when neighborhoods would be most at risk of surge damage.

"Understanding the additional layer of risk posed by a storm surge is critical for homeowners, emergency response teams, insurance companies and many others to plan and prepare for natural catastrophes," Botts said.

By Josh Brown
The Virginian-Pilot
© May 4, 2011

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