YOU DECIDE: Should communities leveled by hurricanes be rebuilt in the same place?

Posted by on Jun 10, 2022 in You Decide!

It’s summer, and that means the start of hurricane season. Due to the effects of climate change, the United States faces more deadly hurricanes every year. During the past two years, a record fifty named storms formed over the Atlantic Ocean, with eighteen tropical storms and hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. Every year, communities are devastated by extreme weather events—not just hurricanes, but wildfires, tornadoes, and floods. Some cities and communities, such as New Orleans, have survived several such events. Even so, people continue to invest in rebuilding these areas. So, YOU DECIDE: Should communities leveled by hurricanes be rebuilt in the same place? 


  • About 85 percent of Americans live in places that can be considered “at risk” of serious weather events including hurricanes. It would be impossible to relocate 85 percent of the population. 
  • Communities can learn from their history. Strict building codes can require home and business owners to take additional safety steps to make communities safer. These include raising buildings on pilings, reinforcing walls and roofs, and adding hurricane-proof windows. 
  • Cities can come back from disasters stronger than ever. For example, in 2017, more than 17.7 million people visited New Orleans, and spent a record $8.7 billion there. 


  • Rebuilding in these areas is too costly. For example, hurricane damages in the United States during 2020 totaled more than $42 billion. From 2005 through 2019, the federal government spent $460 billion of federal tax dollars on disaster assistance. 
  • Climate models by scientists show that over the next few decades, there will be more intense storms in North America and the U.S. East Coast. Costly disasters will become more common. 
  • Rebuilding in these areas is irresponsible. According to the National Weather Service, 457 Americans died from extreme weather events in 2020. Rebuilding in these areas puts more American lives at risk. 

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