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Florida's Hurricanes Are Becoming More Expensive, Even as Building Codes Improve

Florida has one of the strictest building codes in the United States, but that hasn't been enough to prevent the state from experiencing record-breaking hurricane losses in recent years. The reason is simple: Florida's population is booming, and more people means more people and property at risk.


In the past decade, Florida's population has grown by 20%, making it the third-fastest growing state in the nation. That growth has been concentrated in coastal counties, which are also the most vulnerable to hurricanes.


Florida's Hurricanes Are Becoming More Expensive, Even as Building Codes Improve
Florida's Hurricanes Are Becoming More Expensive, Even as Building Codes Improve

As the population has grown, so has the amount of development in coastal areas. New homes, businesses, and infrastructure are being built all the time, and that means that there is more property at risk when a hurricane strikes.

In addition, many of the older homes in coastal Florida were built before the state's strict building codes were put in place. These homes are more vulnerable to damage from hurricanes, and they are also more likely to be completely destroyed.

The combination of population growth and development in coastal areas has led to a significant increase in hurricane losses. In 2022, Hurricane Ian caused over $100 billion in damage, making it one of the costliest hurricanes in US history.

While Florida's building codes have helped to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by hurricanes, they have not been enough to prevent the state from experiencing record-breaking losses. The reason is simple: more people and more property means more at risk.

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What can be done to reduce hurricane losses in Florida?

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce hurricane losses in Florida. One is to continue to strengthen the state's building codes. Another is to invest in coastal resilience projects, such as seawalls and levees. It is also important to educate the public about the dangers of hurricanes and how to prepare for them.

Here are some specific steps that can be taken:

  • Strengthen the state's building codes. Florida's building codes are already among the strictest in the nation, but they can be strengthened even further. For example, the state could require that all new homes be built with reinforced concrete roofs and storm shutters.

  • Invest in coastal resilience projects. Seawalls and levees can help to protect coastal communities from storm surge and flooding. The state could invest in more of these projects, especially in areas that are at high risk of flooding.

  • Educate the public about the dangers of hurricanes and how to prepare for them. Many people who live in hurricane-prone areas do not understand the dangers of hurricanes or how to prepare for them. The state could launch a public education campaign to teach people about hurricane safety.

By taking these steps, Florida can reduce the risk of hurricane losses and protect its residents and property.

Additional thoughts:

  • It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to reducing hurricane losses in Florida. The best approach will vary depending on the specific community and its unique vulnerabilities.

  • It is also important to consider the cost of reducing hurricane losses. While investing in coastal resilience projects and public education can be expensive, the long-term savings could be significant.

  • Ultimately, the decision of how to reduce hurricane losses in Florida is a complex one. It is important to weigh the risks and benefits of different approaches and to choose the approach that is best for the state as a whole.


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