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In an effort to continue providing users with the inside scoop, Trulia has released three new interactive natural hazard maps pinpointing areas across the United States that are prone to hurricanes, wildfires, and tornadoes.

Understanding the risk of natural disasters is an important consideration for home buyers across the country. In 2010, the federal government declared a record of 81 natural disasters occurred during the year, while in 2011 a new record was set for disaster declarations with twelve separate billion-dollar weather/climate disasters with the aggregate damage totaling approximately $52 billion. Then in 2012, the federal government declared on 99 separate occasions that a major disaster existed after a natural hazard had occurred.

“Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions a consumer will ever make, but it’s often hard for home shoppers to get information about the potential risks and impact of natural hazards like those we’ve had in recent years,” said Lee Clancy, VP of Consumer Products. “When Hurricane Sandy hit, we knew we had to provide more information on natural hazards to our consumers. With these new maps, users will be able to visualize where their dream home is located relative to where natural hazards have hit. And best of all, Trulia provides this rich information to consumers for free, so make sure you check these natural hazard maps before you sign on the dotted line.”

Details of the New Trulia Natural Hazard Visualizations Map

– Hurricanes: Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1950-2012, the map shows dark purple cells indicating accumulated wind energy over time. The hurricanes are displayed via tracks on the map, with the size of the track representing the power of the storm.

- Wildfire Risk: Based on the US Forest Service data from 2001-2010, the wildfire risk map shows recent fire perimeters and fire potentials. Red and orange denote higher risk of fire, while green represents less risk.

- Tornadoes: Also using data from NOAA, the tornado map layer displays the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which shows accumulated energy from tornadoes, along with tracks for each storm from 1950-2011. Similar to the hurricane map layer, the size of the track on the tornado map indicates the power
of the windstorm.

Trulia’s visualizations are accessible on the web by visiting Trulia Local. Users simply select a city, then access a menu on the left-hand side to see details like properties, home values, crimes, schools, commute times, amenities and rental rates. The interactive maps also include the environmental risk of floods and earthquakes, which were launched in May — and now hurricanes, wildfires, and tornadoes.

To find the metros that are least prone to natural disasters, Trulia used the data that powers its natural hazards maps and calculated the average risk within each metro area for each of the five major natural disasters featured on the layered heat maps.

Find more details here.