Make us your home page

Tampa Bay's top 10 ZIP codes where a Cat 5 storm surge would wreak most damage



Wake up and good morning.
In the Tampa Bay region, property owners in the upscale and water-vulnerable ZIP codes 33703 in St. Petersburg, 33629 in Tampa and 34685 in Palm Harbor are among those with the most to lose if a hurricane drives the Gulf of Mexico inland. (Photo above: Hurricane Charley, 2004.)

The potential dollar losses from storm surge in heavily developed Tampa Bay are ranked No. 3 nationwide, behind No. 1 South Florida and No, 2 Virginia Beach, according to a new ZIP-code analysis produced by the private risk-assessment company First American Corp. The list should not be confused simply as a ranking of areas most vulnerable to the effects of storm surge, but a ranking of the potential dollar loss. Here's the full report, called 2010 First American Storm Surge Report.

The study projects that a Category 5 hurricane could expose more than 244,000 homes in the Tampa Bay metro area worth $33 billion to flood damage, behind South Florida's $53.6 billion and Virginia Beach's $39.5 billion. It says that even a minimal Category 1 storm could expose more than 50,000 homes worth nearly $9.4 billion to surge flooding.

Here's First American's analysis of Tampa Bay area residential damage based on different category hurricanes:

* Category 1: 50,294 homes,$9,410,934,262 in damage

* Category 2: 86,414 homes, $14,679,313,929 in damage

* Category 3: 146,110 homes, $21,796,383,991 in damage

* Category 4: 199,205 homes, $27,961,806,345 in damage

* Category 5: 244,016 homes $32,996,673,915 in damage

Who's most vulnerable? Here is First American's assessment of damage based on the residential property in ZIP codes likely to sustain the greatest storm surge damage from a Category 5 hurricane. Click on the ZIP code links below to see exact locations on a map:

* St. Petersburg, 33702 ZIP code: 7,613 homes, $835,990,300 in damage

* St. Petersburg, 33706 ZIP code: 5,431 homes, $947,845,180 in damage

* St. Petersburg, 33703 ZIP code: 8,495 homes, $1,026,758,830 in damage

* Tampa, 33611 ZIP code: 9,406 homes, $1,154,674,630 in damage

* Tarpon Springs, 34689 ZIP code: 8,552 homes, $1,174,396,700 in damage

* Tampa, 33626 ZIP code: 6,540 homes, $1,176,455,190 in damage

* Oldsmar, 34677 ZIP code: 7,096 homes, $1,185,175,800 in damage

* Tampa, 33615 ZIP code: 11,660 homes, $1,208,674,970 in damage

* Palm Harbor, 34685 ZIP code: 5,087 homes, $1,265,822,800 in damage

* Tampa, 33629 ZIP code: 8,271 homes, $1,449,129,090 in damage

Experts note the Atlantic Ocean, with the steep slope of its bottom, is less likely to deliver a storm surge deep into the interior of Florida. But along the Gulf Coast, the wide and shallow continental shelf allows surge water to stack up and push deeper inland. Here's more from a Miami Herald story.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: ]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours