Cape May, Ocean counties among worst places to own a home
The homebuying process is not always easy, with considerations like cost, commute times, and schools. But other factors include weather, climate, and the risk of severe storms, hurricanes, flooding and other natural occurrences.
To that end, the analysis used data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Climatic Data Center, among others, and found that certain counties in the United States are at greater risk for natural occurrences that can damage buildings and homes and put lives in danger.
New Jersey's numbers -- those of Ocean County in particular -- were driven in large part by Superstorm Sandy, according to Nick Wiltgen, digital meteorologist at weather.com.
"Sandy caused most of the $11 billion in weather-related damage in that county during our survey period, which is an 18-year period from 1996 to 2013," Wiltgen said. "There were also eight deaths in homes from weather-related causes. If you add that together with New Jersey's statewide high score in housing assistance and damage to homes from FEMA declarations, that helped bring Ocean County to No. 6."
One disaster can account for a large part of the dollar damage, not to mention fatalities, that occur in homes in any particular county. Wiltgen said Sandy tarnished New Jersey as a whole.
"If you look at the average score for all the counties in each state, New Jersey did worse than any other state," he said.
Aside from Sandy-related damage, Ocean County also has some fire risk from the Pine Barrens, some flooding risk and a little bit of an earthquake risk. In the rare event that an East Coast earthquake should occur, the data indicates a lot of property could be damaged.
While Cape May County had similar numbers to Ocean County, it scored lower for the risks of wildfires, earthquakes and dollar losses. It scored higher, however, for flood risk. Monmouth County was comparable to Ocean in damage per capita, but was spared from The Weather Channel's top 100 because its wildfire risk is very low.
Orleans Parish, Louisiana came in at No. 1 on the list. Gray County, Texas was 50th. For more information or to see the data in its entirety, click here.