The Weather Channel ranks Ocean County, N.J. as one of the worst places to own a home

     An Ocean County sunset in June 2014. (Photo: Justin Auciello/JSHN)

    An Ocean County sunset in June 2014. (Photo: Justin Auciello/JSHN)

    Is Ocean County really a bad place to live?

    In August, Time Magazine ranked it as the “most dangerous” county in the United States due to the frequency of natural disasters. 

    That analysis culled through “more than a half century of weather patterns and destructive natural events across the contiguous United States,” the magazine report detailed.

    Now, The Weather Channel is out with a ranking of the worst places to own a home, and a county official is not pleased. 

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    The study considered data from government sources, including Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), to determine that most at risk counties. 

    Ocean County came in at number six. 

    Factors include dollar losses, deaths, energy cost, flood risk, fire risk, quake risk, and home damage.

    The ranking is heavy on Superstorm Sandy reasoning: 

    NOAA estimated that Ocean County incurred $10 billion in damage from Sandy. For our 1996-2013 survey period, total damage was about $11.1 billion, trailing only the area’s northern neighbor, Monmouth County ($11.8 billion), and New Orleans (see above). In terms of damage per capita, Ocean and Monmouth counties rank No. 22 and No. 23 nationally, and No. 1 and No. 2 in the Northeast.

    In addition to the practical considerations when buying a home, The Weather Channel says that potential homebuyers should also take into account weather and natural risks.

    Ocean County’s neighbor to the north, Monmouth County, ranks at 121. 

    According to the analysis, “Ocean County has a modest wildfire risk from the Pine Barrens in its interior, and Monmouth’s wildfire risk was too low to score any points.”

    Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari slammed the analysis, calling it “incredibly disingenuous.”

    “Sandy was a once-in-a-lifetime freak storm that struck not only Ocean County but the entire coastline from southern New Jersey to New York state. It should also be noted the worst damage to homes and businesses was inflicted directly along the coast, not inland,” he said.

    Vicari added that the county has a “quality of life second to none,” noting that the population has nearly tripled between 1970 and 2014 “because of the environment, low crime, and low taxes” the county offers.

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