October 31, 2012 at 14:59 PM EDT
$40B in homes faced storm surge threat in area
Calculating the damages wreaked by Superstorm Sandy will take weeks, but according to one preliminary analysis, at least 95,000 homes in the New York metro area worth a total of as much as $40 billion were exposed to storm-surge. That includes $1.3 billion worth of homes in the hard-hit Zip code of 11414 in Howard Beach, Queens, which were exposed to the storm, according to CoreLogic, an information and business service provider. It was one of the top 25 Zip codes in the region, including Long Island and northern New Jersey, that were at risk of exposure to Sandy. One Zip code in Staten Island and two Zip codes in Brooklyn were also part of CoreLogic's storm-surge analysis, which was compiled prior to Sandy's arrival Monday evening. "The highest surge values I've seen reported are about 12 to13 feet," Tom Jeffery, chief hazard scientist for CoreLogic, said via an emailed statement. "What that tells me is that the surge water was able to move much farther inland and affect properties not only farther from the coast, but also homes built on higher ground, doing much more damage than Irene." He noted that Sandy's storm surge was double Hurricane Irene's in many areas and nearly triple it in a few. Irene generated a maximum of about 4.5 feet of surge in some parts of the New York metro area. In the Brooklyn Zip codes of 11234 and 11235 an estimated $1.6 billion worth of residential properties were at risk, while in the Staten Island Zip code of 10306 the figure was roughly $901 million. The area with the highest value of residences at risk was Massapequa on the South Shore of Long Island. There the figure was more than $4.6 billion. "Not all homes that were at risk will be affected to the same degree," Mr. Jeffery said. "Certainly some will be only affected by flooding, while others were a total loss." The CoreLogic data is designed to assay the value of residences at risk from storm surge, not actual damages. It will take days if not weeks to sort out actual damages once insurance claim adjusters get out into the field and start reporting, the firm said.
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