US - As hurricane season begins, new homes are being built at a record rate — but not strongly enough

March marked the largest month-over-month increase in new home construction since 1990. New houses are now being built at the highest rate since 2006. But there is a problem: Homes are constructed in largely the same fashion as they were 30 years ago

March marked the largest month-over-month increase in new home construction since 1990. New houses are now being built at the highest rate since 2006. But there is a problem: Homes are constructed in largely the same fashion as they were 30 years ago — despite a massive, climate-driven surge in the number of natural disasters we face each year. With hurricane season beginning this week, and forecasts predicting it could be another busy one, now is the time to examine our preparedness and make improvements in the face of an increasingly wrathful mother nature.

Last year was a hazardous one for homeowners, producing both the most destructive west coast fire season and the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record. Driven by warmer temperatures, hurricane season alone inflicted at least $60 billion in damages and threatened every mile of the Atlantic coast from Texas to Maine.

I have spent my career helping people prepare for and respond to natural disasters, and one pattern has always held true: No one thinks they will be affected until they are, and then they want to know whether the devastation could have been prevented. The answer is almost always yes. Homes can be built to withstand winds up to 130 miles per hour, which covers category two and three hurricanes. But too few are, even in states where we know it’s just a matter of time until the next hurricane strikes.

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