Buying a house is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. That’s why, here at Trulia, we’re obsessed with providing our consumers with the inside scoop on everything they need to know to buy, sell, or rent a home. Many users we talk to tell us how much they love our interactive maps because they provide valuable information during their home search. While house hunting, they’re able to access everything from up-to-date crime statistics to nearby amenities, school boundaries, rental prices, and even local commute times. Today, we’re excited to announce the newest addition to our layered heat maps: three new natural hazard zones showing hurricanes, wildfires, and tornadoes. Now, home buyers can see where their home – or future home – is located relative to where natural disasters historically strike. These maps come on the heels of our earthquake and flood maps, launched in May.

Here are the details of the new natural hazard maps:

  • 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.
Image of a hurricane on Trulia's natural hazard maps

Image of a hurricane on Trulia’s natural hazard maps

  • 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 fire risks, while green represents less risk.

Image of wildfire boundary in Los Angeles

  • 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.

Tornado map

Consumers can easily access our natural-hazard-layered heat maps by visiting Trulia Local (http://www.trulia.com/local/). Once a city is selected, a menu on the left-hand side allows you to see all the natural hazard maps – floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, and tornadoes – along with other details like properties, home values, crimes, schools, commute times, amenities, and rental rates.

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.

We encourage you to visit our Trends blog where our Chief Economist, Jed Kolko, further identifies and discusses the Top 10 Housing Markets at Lower-Risk of Being Hit By Natural Hazards in the U.S.

*According to Homeland Security Newswire