Hurricane winds are getting stronger in locations like Illinois, Tennessee

A U.S. flag is seen in a flooded rural area after Hurricane Ian caused widespread destruction in Arcadia, Florida, October 4, 2022.

Marco Bello | Reuters

Hurricane winds fueled by climate change will spread further inland, putting tens of millions of homes at risk across the United States over the next three decades, according to a new analysis from the nonprofit research group First Street Foundation.

More than 13 million homes not currently exposed to tropical cyclones will be damaged by hurricane force winds, which are expected to move further inland as storms increasingly move up the east coast, the report said.

Researchers also estimated that the US could suffer an annual loss of $18.5 billion from hurricane-force winds, eventually rising to $20 billion in 2053. Of this increased amount of damage, approximately $1 billion is expected to be due to increased exposure in Florida alone.

Florida, the most prone state to storms, could see a shift in hurricane landfall from southern cities like Miami to more northerly locations like Jacksonville, the report said. The projections come as scores of residents in Southwest Florida are struggling in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which made landfall last September, killing 150 and leaving hundreds more displaced.

The mid-Atlantic region will see the largest increase in maximum wind speeds, the report says. In landlocked states like Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee, wind speeds could increase from 87 mph to 97 mph during strong hurricanes. Residents in these states are likely to be less prepared for future increases in wind speeds, the report added.

The projections also show that areas in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia are at greater risk from destructive gale force winds.

Remains of destroyed restaurants, shops and other businesses are seen nearly a month after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, the United States, October 26, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Marco Bello | Reuters

The country’s hurricane season is getting longer and more intense as climate change brings more frequent and destructive storms. Matthew Eby, founder and CEO of the First Street Foundation, said in a statement that quantifying hurricane wind loading and resulting losses for every property across the country “heralds a new era in understanding the physical impacts of climate change.”

“This next generation of hurricane strength will bring unavoidable financial impact and devastation that has not yet been priced into the market,” Eby said.

The report used historical observations of tropical cyclone formation, strength, and landfall rates and adjusted them to account for current sea surface temperatures, atmospheric temperatures, and sea levels using the latest climate models from the International Panel on Climate Change. The methodology involved measurements of more than 50,000 synthetic storm tracks to determine sustained wind direction and speed.

You might also like

Comments are closed.