Hurricane Katrina killed over 1,000 people and did $108 billion in damage, making it the biggest and most expensive weather-related catastrophe the world has ever seen. According to RMS, which happens to be the world’s leading catastrophe risk management company, There are six major cities in the US at serious risk.
In fact, New York, Miami and Tampa face greater losses than New Orleans, should a superstorm like Hurricane Sandy, strike any of those major cities. Sandy, which killed 233 people and caused $68 billion in damages in 2012, came just seven years after Katrina.
By 2100, the sea-level rise near New Orleans will rise by more than 4 feet and the chance for catastrophic flooding increases four-fold unless current conditions are improved. By the same year, chances of a disaster thanks to storm surges, go up to 1-in-30 in Tampa, 1-in-30 in Miami, 1-in-45 in New York and 1-in-315 in New Orleans.
“Hurricane Katrina was the first time in decades that more than 50 percent of losses from a hurricane resulted from storm surge,” said Dr. Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer at RMS. “Katrina can be seen as a milestone in the long-term shift from ‘wind’ to ‘water’ as the main driver of hurricane loss. In 2012, superstorm Sandy had more than 60 percent of its losses caused by storm surge flooding.”
We need to stop looking at New Orleans as if it were some distant land. You may not have been directly impacted by the hurricane. But the next big one could wash away several cities, and this is not some crappy conspiracy theory or hype out of some stupid politician’s big mouth.