CoreLogic released its third annual Storm Surge Report, in which it found that more than four million homes in the U.S. — part of $700 billion in “total property exposure” — at risk from hurricane damage by storm surge.

The report covers the Gulf and east coasts from Louisiana and Florida up to Boston. (North Carolina is not included because the state outlawed climate change and thus will not see increased storm activity.)

“Hurricane Irene made it very clear last summer that hurricane risk is not confined to the southern parts of the country,” said CoreLogic vice president Howard Botts. “That’s why we felt it was important this year to highlight storm surge risk in a brand new way to establish a better understanding of exposure throughout the states that are most at risk of a direct hurricane hit.”

Notably, the study found that “even a Category 1 storm could cause property damage in the billions along the northeastern Atlantic Coast and force major metropolitan areas to shut down or evacuate.”

Yes, yes, I hear you say, but what about Virginia?

The Virginia Beach area ranks #2 on the list of “Top 10 Metropolitan Areas by Number of Potential Properties Affected,” just behind New York.

If a Category 5 hurricane were to strike the Virginia Beach area, the potential exposure could reach $46 billion worth of residential damage on more than 290,000 properties in the area. If the hurricane is only a Category 1 storm, it could still cause area residents total property damage of close to $10 billion, impacting over 59,000 homes.

Here’s a chart showing what’s in danger:

Click to enlarge a bit

And here’s a map:

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This is why we’ve been fighting to make sure the National Flood Insurance Program remains in place for the long haul. Congress just passed a 60-day extension, and will hopefully (finally!) extend the NFIP for at least five years.