5 riskiest places to live

These areas have the highest probability of experiencing an earthquake, hurricane, tornado or all of the above.

By MSN Real Estate partner 11 hours ago

LUCAS JACKSON/Newscom/ReutersBy Robert McGarvey, MainStreet


San Francisco has earthquakes, Oklahoma City has tornadoes and New Orleans has hurricanes — but here's a look at five major U.S. communities that have the highest combined risk for all three.


"Most places tend to have maybe one risk factor, but these places tend to have multiple ones," says Daren Blomquist of market watcher RealtyTrac, which recently calculated the odds of natural disasters hitting any one of more than 3,100 U.S. counties.


Blomquist says RealtyTrac found that America's riskiest locales are also some of its heavily populated ones.


He speculates that's because many scenic oceanfront communities face high hurricane dangers, while picture-perfect mountaintop locales often sit near earthquake-producing fault lines. "It turns out that a lot of people want to live in some of the most-risky places in the country," Blomquist says.


In fact, RealtyTrac found that the riskiest locales have some of America's highest home prices.


Expect to pay $377,483 for a median-priced place in the 12 major U.S. counties (those with 500,000 housing units or more) that the firm discovered have a high combined risk for all three natural disasters. That's 119.5% over the $172,000 overall U.S. median.

Read on to see which large counties RealtyTrac found have the highest combined risk for earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes.


RealtyTrac based its projections on U.S. Geological Survey earthquake forecasts, plus hurricane and tornado projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. All locales below have 500,000 housing units or more.


Fifth-riskiest major community for natural disasters: Suburban Boston/Middlesex County, Mass.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see why the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's home area has high natural-disaster risks.

Located near the Atlantic Ocean, 1.5-million-population Middlesex County suffers from a "Very High Risk" rating for hurricanes. The county, which encompasses many of Boston's northern and western suburbs, also gets a "C" for earthquake hazards, although it ranks "Very Low Risk" for tornadoes.


Fourth-riskiest major community for natural disasters: Philadelphia

It may be the City of Brotherly Love, but Philadelphia shouldn't expect much kindness from Mother Nature.

That's because 1.5-million-person Philadelphia County (whose borders match those of the city) rates "Very High Risk" for hurricanes — not surprising given that it's only around 60 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean.


Philly also gets a "C-" for earthquake danger, but enjoys a "Very Low Risk" score for tornadoes.


Third-riskiest major community for natural disasters: Eastern Long Island/Suffolk County, N.Y.

A bad storm could make short work of this Long Island county some 80 miles northeast of Manhattan.


Surrounded on three sides by water, Suffolk County faces a "Very High Risk" of hurricane damage.


The 1.5-million-population area, which is home to such exclusive beach communities as Montauk and the Hamptons, also gets a "C+" for earthquake potential. But on the bright side, Suffolk County only has a "Very Low Risk" ranking for tornadoes.

Second-riskiest major community for natural disasters: San Diego County, Calif.

You know you face major natural-disaster risks when you live in a place that's sandwiched between one ocean and two earthquake fault lines.


San Diego County, which consists of the city of San Diego and some surrounding communities, gets a "F" for earthquake risks thanks to the nearby San Andreas and San Jacinto earthquake faults.

The 3.1-million-person county also scores a "Medium Risk" grade for hurricanes, as it runs along the Pacific Ocean. The only good news is that residents there only face a "Very Low Risk" rating for potential tornadoes.


Riskiest major community for natural disasters:Suburban Los Angeles/Riverside County, Calif.

It's bad enough that the San Andreas and San Jacinto Faults run near San Diego County, but they actually run through Riverside County.


That's the main reason this 2.2-million-person locale, which stretches from Los Angeles' eastern suburbs to the Arizona border, tops RealtyTrac's list of the riskiest major U.S. locale for natural disasters.

Riverside County scores an "F" for earthquake potential, while it gets a "Medium Risk" grade for hurricanes. (Part of the county's western border comes within about 10 miles of the Pacific Ocean.)


On the plus side, Riverside County residents face just a "Very Low Risk" rating for tornadoes.


More from MainStreet


4 hours ago
Whoever wrote this article did not do his research. San Diego is in a lower earthquake incidence area than most of the rest of California. As far as hurricanes - from Wikipedia "The 1858 San Diego hurricane was a very rare  hurricane. It is the only known  to impact California as a hurricane, although other systems impacted California as tropical storms." So a hurricane once every 150 years is medium risk? There is a range of coastal mountains that would likely prevent Riverside county from ever having a hurricane. Now if this article made mention of wildfires which are frequent and devastating the author would have written an accurate piece about Riverside or San Diego counties.
5 hours ago
This is a large digression from the article, but Chicago is not the “crime capital” of America.  The city with the most annual murders per 100,000 from 1985-2012 is Flint, Michigan.  All of this, however, neglects the declining rural areas in our country which are slipping into poverty and crime.  In my home state of MO, for example, meth production has devastated once thriving communities.     
5 hours ago
Los Angeles and San Diego dangerous?  From what?  Earthquakes?  How often do they occur?  Maybe once every 30 years?  Alabama and Miami have dangerous storms every year, several times a year.  This is silly.
7 hours ago
In a house anywhere as a wife to a pro black football player. They slug their women in the face pretty hard. Sometimes they even murder their pregnant girl friends. Money is not the answer, they need anger management counseling and stop bulling women. Not the kind of men that earn respect or leaders they pretend to be. The dogs and kids run hide the highland way on a bad day. The wife is screwed as she takes a blast upside the head. Maybe the O.J. Simpson trial set a bad example of justice for black football players.
Anywhere in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California... Mexicans!
9 hours ago
Miami, Memphis and Detroit come to mind
9 hours ago
What moron had too much time on his/her hands to come up with this analogy.
9 hours ago
Any street named after Martin Luther King Jr.
Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Newark, Memphis, LA, Miami.... these places are FAR MORE DANGEROUS!  You are far more likely to die from criminals in these cities (partial list) than from Mother Natures Wrath listed in the article!
10 hours ago

The riskiest place to live is next door to Justin Beiber. That egocentric little idiot is a natural disaster just waiting to happen.

11 hours ago
11 hours ago
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