Residents, real estate agents and local officials in Ocean County, New Jersey are all angry with the Weather Channel, but it has nothing to do with a forecast. Instead they’ve taken issue with a recent report from the Weather Channel naming Ocean County among the 50 worst places to own a home in the country based on natural factors.
“I just think it’s stupid,” said Long Beach Township Mayor Joe Mancini. “For the Weather Channel just to roll the dice or shoot darts at a map and come up with what they came up with is absolutely ludicrous.”
Ocean County ranked sixth in the Weather Channel’s report, which focused on weather-related risks. The five counties ranked ahead of it are Cameron Parish, Louisiana, Jackson County, Mississippi, Harrison County, Mississippi, Hancock County, Mississippi and Orleans Parish, Louisiana. All of the counties ranked ahead, aside from Cameron Parish, were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Cameron Parish was hit hard by Hurricane Rita in Sept. 2005.
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The Weather Channel, which is run by NBC10’s parent company NBC Universal, cited the $10 billion in damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in Ocean County communities, including Mantaloking and Seaside Heights, as a reason for the ranking.
“To base living in Ocean County off of one Superstorm is to me very shortsighted and very irresponsible,” said David Wyrsch of Van Dyk Group realtors.
The network said its report came from detailed analysis of weather and natural disasters between 1996 and 2013. They also said they analyzed data from several government agencies.
“The homes that were damaged are now being built to standards where they should never get flooded again,” Mayor Mancini said.
Critics of the report also said it unfairly lumps in the vast majority of Ocean County that’s inland, where damage from Sandy was far less severe and in some places, nonexistent.
“You’re only talking land-wise a fraction of the county that really got impacted,” Wyrsch said. “Maybe 20 percent? And that might even be generous.”
The Weather Channel also cited a modest risk of wildfires in Ocean County due to the Pine Barrens.
With nearly 600,000 residents and still growing, Ocean County is the most populated county in the report’s top 10. Local residents claimed that’s further proof that people want to be there.
“We’re better than ever,” Mancini said.
NBC10 reached out to the network for further comment. So far they have not responded to our requests.