By Ashley Barker
Published June 19, 2014
Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties are among 373 counties in the United States classified as being at very high risk for natural disasters, according to a report from RealtyTrac.
The housing data company assigned scores and risk categories to more than 3,000 county housing markets nationwide for three natural disaster events: hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
Each county was assigned an overall score from 15 to 75 based on its score in each of the three events, which were weighted equally, according to RealtyTrac’s Natural Disaster Housing Risk Report.
The earthquake risk score was based on a predictive earthquake risk model created by the U.S. Geological Survey that calculates the probability of a 5.0 magnitude earthquake occurring within a 30-mile radius over the next 50 years, RealtyTrac said.
Historical hurricane activity data from 2001 to 2013 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that rates risk on a scale from 0 to 456,668 was used to rank counties for hurricane risk, according to RealtyTrac.
NOAA data from the same time period were also used to rank counties for tornado risk. RealtyTrac considered NOAA’s Destruction Potential Index for each county based on the number, path area in square miles and intensity of tornadoes.
County scores were used to assign categories, which include very high risk (50 to 75 score), high risk (40 to 45), medium risk (35), low risk (25 to 30) and very low risk (15 to 20).
Every county in South Carolina was assigned very high risk for the hurricane category, and earthquake risks in the state included C+, C, C-, D+ and D. Tornado risks ranged from very low risk to high risk in S.C., and the total risk category ranged from high risk to very high risk.
“The potential risk of a natural disaster may not be the first item on most homebuyer checklists for a dream home, but prudent buyers will certainly take this into consideration along with myriad other factors that could affect home value,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a statement. “In the past, natural disaster data was technically available but difficult for buyers and homeowners to dig up; however, now the data is readily available online for virtually any U.S. property, and buyers should take advantage of this.”
States with the lowest risk for earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes include Minnesota, Montana, Colorado, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to RealtyTrac. The highest-risk states include Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Natural disasters housing risk for select S.C. counties
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Total risk score/category
Reach staff writer Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker on Twitter.