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5 US Hotspots Where Hurricanes May Cause Severe Damage

Hurricane
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

Everyone knows that the last two hurricane seasons have been pretty bad. But just how bad were they?

Experts say that actually we had just gotten used to an unnaturally low level of hurricane activity, with relatively few major hurricanes hitting the East Coast over the last 30 years.

But we may rest on our laurels no longer, scientists warn. The pendulum looks like it’s swinging in the other direction, ushering in a new era of bigger and more frequent storms over the next two or three decades. This year’s hurricane season is far from over and could be one of the most expensive ever.

So, where are hurricanes most likely to touch down? Read on and find out why it is that these areas are so prone to bearing the brunt of the hurricane burden.

Hotspot 1: Southeast Florida

Forecasters estimate that once every 10 years this area, which includes Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, will be hit by a hurricane of a Category 3 or greater — that means winds over 111 miles per hour.

Florida should really dominate this whole hurricane hotspot list: the Florida Keys, southwest Florida and west Florida are all prime hurricane locations, too. This is no surprise for a state whose long shoreline includes both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Along the East Coast, the Gulf Stream provides a source of warm waters, which makes the air laden with moisture and  feeds the storm with thermal energy to sustain the hurricane’s strength.

Hotspot 2: Coastal Mississippi

Mississippi is not only prone to hurricanes, but the ones that do hit tend to do a colossal amount of damage. Hurricane Katrina, one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the US, and Hurricane Camille, back in 1969, caused similar mayhem.

This is because the entire coastal area of Mississippi can become overwhelmed by the huge storm surge. The storm surge can begin to rise a day before the storm hits, cutting off escape routes when low-lying highways are flooded. This is particularly true along the Gulf of Mexico shore.

Hotspot 3: Outer Banks islands, NC

These sparsely inhabited islands jut out from the eastern seaboard into the Atlantic Gulf stream. The unique geographical location of the Outer Banks creates an area of frequent landfall for hurricanes sweeping up the Atlantic coast, as well as other ocean driven storms.

Hotspot 4: Long Island, NY

Long Island’s northern location and relatively cool waters tend to weaken storms to below hurricane strength by the time they reach Long Island. Despite this, some storms have still hit the area at Category 1 or greater strength.

The Hamptons, in eastern Long Island, have been hit by Hurricane Donna in 1960, Gloria in 1985 and Bob in 1991. The fear is a return of a 1938-type storm that generated a 15-foot storm surge that overtopped the barrier beaches — now are crowned with waterfront mansions — and flooded the downtown villages.

Hotspot 5: Southern New England

This area holds the unenviable position of being prone to all three threats posed by hurricanes: coastal inundation due to the storm surge, widespread wind damage and widespread inland small stream and river flooding due to torrential rains. Since 1900, a staggering 39 tropical systems have hit New England.

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