REPORT: 941,392 Homes Threatened By Ida Storm Surge

A trifecta of damaging winds between 130-156 mph, dangerous storm surge, and extremely heavy and widespread rainfall between 10-15 inches is expected to put 941,392 homes in the Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi coastal areas at risk for storm surge damage, according to data analysis for single-family and multifamily homes released by CoreLogic®. 

The reconstruction cost value of all at-risk homes totals more than $200 billion.

Storm surge is the abnormal rise in seawater level during a storm, measured as the height of the water above the normal predicted astronomical tide. The surge is caused primarily by a storm’s winds pushing water onshore and can cause significant property damage.

“Atmospheric conditions are highly favorable for rapid intensification after Ida emerges from Cuba on Saturday into Sunday,” said Dr. Daniel Betten, meteorologist and senior leader for Weather Science at CoreLogic. “Ida will also be passing over an extremely warm loop current, which is known to contribute to the rapid intensification of hurricanes in the central Gulf of Mexico, most famously seen with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.”

Ida’s landfall coincides with the sixteenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 dead and did more than $100 billion in damage, making it one of the most costly natural disasters in American history.

But Ida’s impact is expected to be far less crippling than Katrina. Katrina generated a storm surge that reached more than 20 feet in parts of the Mississippi coast. The CoreLogic analysis uses current projections putting Ida’s storm surge at no more than 15 feet in the worst impacted areas.

“Fifteen-foot sure can do a lot of damage,” said Barry Keim, a professor at Louisiana State University and Louisiana State Climatologist. “But it’s going to be nothing in comparison with Katrina’s surge.”

The New York Times reported today that there had been no significant reports of storm surge flooding, disastrous structure damage or major loss of life in New Orleans, but areas outside the New Orleans metro might not be as well equipped to handle the storm.