Saturday, October 08, 2005

Chicago Tribune | Americans moving into harm's way

Chicago Tribune | Americans moving into harm's way: "A Tribune analysis finds a boom in population growth in coastal counties in the hurricane zone

By John McCormick
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 8, 2005

DIAMONDHEAD, Miss. -- A scientific debate remains about whether the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts are being pummeled by hurricanes of greater intensity than in the past, but there is no question that more Americans are moving directly into the path of the storms.

When Hurricane Katrina hit here nearly six weeks ago, about 250 homes in this planned community along the Gulf of Mexico were destroyed and another 500 were left uninhabitable.

With its warm weather and relatively low taxes, as well as palm trees, tennis courts and 36 holes of golf, Diamondhead typically adds about 200 new homes a year.

'You used to know every neighbor here,' said Clay Guidroz, 76, a longtime resident whose home lost a few shingles and a fence in the storm.

With a population of about 8,500, Diamondhead is big enough to have a ZIP code, and it helped boost the surrounding county's population by an estimated 6.9 percent between 2000 and 2004.

Reflecting a trend fueled by the nation's love of waterfront property, the availability of undeveloped coastal land and the region's general abundance o"

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