List of costliest Atlantic hurricanes

Last updated

Damage in Long Beach, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane katrina damage gulfport mississippi.jpg
Damage in Long Beach, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina.

This is a list of costliest Atlantic hurricanes, broadly capturing the severity of the damage each system has caused. The costliest tropical cyclone on record in the Atlantic is held jointly by hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, both of which resulted in approximately $125 billion in property damage during the year they occurred.

Contents

A majority of the costliest Atlantic hurricanes in recorded history have peaked as major hurricanes. However, weaker tropical cyclones can still cause widespread damage. Tropical storms Alberto in 1994, Allison in 2001, Lee in 2011 and Imelda in 2019 caused over a billion dollars in damage. Flooding typically accounts for about 60% of all of a storm's damages,[ citation needed ] and this is reflected in the list with Allison, Harvey, and Florence and most recently Imelda which produced catastrophic rainfall; and with Katrina, Ike, and Sandy which produced devastating storm surges. Wind damage encompasses a large portion of storm damage as well, evidenced by Andrew, Irma, and Michael. Due to their excessive damage, the names of tropical cyclones accruing at least $1 billion in damage are usually retired by the World Meteorological Organization, but this is not always the case. Hurricane Juan in 1985 was the first hurricane to cause at least a billion in damage and not be retired; its name was retired on a later usage in 2003 that did not cause over a billion in damage. Since Juan, eight tropical cyclones that caused at least a billion in damage were not retired, the most notable of which Hurricane Karl which incurred $3.9 billion in damage, and the most recent of which being Hurricane Isaac in 2012.

The first hurricane to cause at least $1 billion in damage was Hurricane Betsy in 1965, which caused much of its damage in southeastern Louisiana. Four years later, Hurricane Camille caused over $1 billion in damage as it ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi at landfall, and Virginia after moving inland. After the 1960s, each decade saw an increase in tropical cyclones causing at least a billion in damage over the last, due to increasing urban development and population. In the 1970s, four hurricanes caused at least a billion in damage; the costliest of which was Hurricane Agnes, which caused $2.1 billion in damage. The following decade featured seven hurricanes causing at least a billion in damage. In the 1990s, twelve tropical cyclones accrued at least a billion in damage, including Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The system greatly exceeded the damage figure of any preceding tropical cyclone, causing $27.3 billion in damage, mostly in South Florida. Nineteen tropical cyclones in the 2000s caused at least $1 billion in damage. The 2005 season had six billion-dollar hurricanes, the most of any season on record. Hurricanes Ivan in 2004 and Irma in 2017 caused at least $1 billion in damage in four separate countries. Thus far in the 2010s, twelve storms have caused at least $1 billion in damage, the most recent of which is Tropical Storm Imelda, which accrued at least $5 billion in damage [1] .

Overall costliest

This list ranks tropical cyclones within the Atlantic that have accrued at least US$1 billion in damage, based on their nominal USD damage totals. Because these numbers have not been adjusted for inflation, nor adjusted for changes in population and wealth in coastal counties, the costliness of recent hurricanes is artificially inflated compared to hurricanes of the past. This makes it hard to accurately compare the damage inflicted by hurricanes over time.

In contrast, the normalized damage reported in the adjacent column gives an estimate of the direct economic losses from each hurricane if that same event was to occur under contemporary societal conditions, based on a method by Roger A. Pielke Jr. and Christopher Landsea. [2] The general formula for normalized losses is

where is reported damage in current-year US dollars, is the GDP deflator for inflation adjustment, is an estimate of current-cost net stock of fixed assets and consumer durable goods to capture changes in real wealth per-capita, and county population adjustment. [2]

  Was the costliest Atlantic hurricane at the time it dissipated

Dagger-14-plain.png Indicates that the storm name was not retired after its usage

Costliest Atlantic hurricanes
Name Nominal damage
(Billions USD)
Normalized damage
(Billions USD)
SeasonStorm classification
at peak intensity
Areas affectedReferences
Katrina $125.0$116.9 2005 Category 5 hurricane [3] [4]
Harvey $125.0$62.2 2017 Category 4 hurricane [4] [5]
Maria $90.0N/A 2017 Category 5 hurricane [6]
Irma $77.2$31.0 2017 Category 5 hurricane [4]
Sandy $68.7$73.5 2012 Category 3 hurricane [4] [7]
Ike $38.0$35.2 2008 Category 4 hurricane [8] [9] [10]
Wilma $27.4$31.9 2005 Category 5 hurricane [11] [12] [13] [14]
Andrew $27.3$106.0 1992 Category 5 hurricane
  • The Bahamas
  • Florida
  • United States Gulf Coast
[8] [15]
Ivan $26.1$25.9 2004 Category 5 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • Venezuela
  • United States Gulf Coast
[8] [16] [17]
Michael $25.1N/A 2018 Category 5 hurricane [18] [19]
Florence $24.2N/A 2018 Category 4 hurricane [19] [20]
Rita $18.5$14.9 2005 Category 5 hurricane
  • Cuba
  • United States Gulf Coast
[21]
Charley $16.9$26.9 2004 Category 4 hurricane [22] [8]
Matthew $16.5$8.6 2016 Category 5 hurricane
[23] [24]
Irene $14.2$10.8 2011 Category 3 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • United States East Coast
  • Eastern Canada
[25] [26] [27]
Georges $13.9<$6.0 1998 Category 4 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • United States Gulf Coast
[4] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32]
Frances $10.1$16.5 2004 Category 4 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • Eastern United States
  • Ontario
[8] [16] [33] [34]
Hugo $9.47$25.1 1989 Category 5 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • United States East Coast
[8] [35]
Allison $8.5<$6.0 2001 Tropical storm
[8] [36]
Gustav $8.31<$6.0 2008 Category 4 hurricane [8] [9]
Jeanne $7.94$13.6 2004 Category 3 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • Eastern United States
[8] [16] [37] [38]
Floyd $6.5$13.9 1999 Category 4 hurricane
[8] [39]
Mitch $6.08<$6.0 1998 Category 5 hurricane [40] [41] [42]
Isabel $5.5<$6.0 2003 Category 5 hurricane
  • Greater Antilles
  • The Bahamas
  • Eastern United States
  • Ontario
[8] [43]
Imelda $5.0N/A 2019 Tropical storm
  • Texas
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
[44]
Fran $5.0$11.1 1996 Category 3 hurricane
  • Eastern United States
  • Ontario
[8]
Opal $4.7$10.0 1995 Category 4 hurricane
  • Guatemala
  • Yucatán Peninsula
  • Eastern United States
[8] [45]
Dorian >$4.68N/A 2019 Category 5 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • The Bahamas
  • Eastern United States
  • Atlantic Canada
[46] [47]
Stan $3.96<$6.0 2005 Category 1 hurricane
  • Mexico
  • Central America
[37] [48]
Karl Dagger-14-plain.png$3.9<$6.0 2010 Category 3 hurricane
  • Mexico
  • Central America
[49]
Dennis $3.98<$6.0 2005 Category 4 hurricane
[8] [11] [50]
Isaac Dagger-14-plain.png$3.11<$6.0 2012 Category 1 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • Eastern United States
[51]
Alicia $3.0$13.6 1983 Category 3 hurricane
[52]
Gilbert $2.98<$6.0 1988 Category 5 hurricane
[53]
Luis $2.97<$6.0 1995 Category 4 hurricane [45]
Lee Dagger-14-plain.png$2.8<$6.0 2011 Tropical storm
  • United States East Coast
[54]
Michelle $2.35<$6.0 2001 Category 4 hurricane
  • Central America
  • Jamaica
  • Cuba
  • The Bahamas
[30] [36]
Marilyn $2.1<$6.0 1995 Category 3 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • Bermuda
[8] [45]
Agnes $2.1$26.0 1972 Category 1 hurricane
  • Mexico
  • Cuba
  • Eastern United States
[8] [55]
Dean $1.95<$6.0 2007 Category 5 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • Central America
[37] [56]
Joan $1.87<$6.0 1988 Category 4 hurricane
  • Lesser Antilles
  • Colombia
  • Venezuela
  • Central America
[53]
Fifi $1.8<$6.0 1974 Category 2 hurricane
  • Jamaica
  • Central America
  • Mexico
[57] [58]
Frederic $1.77<$6.0 1979 Category 4 hurricane [59]
Dolly Dagger-14-plain.png$1.6<$6.0 2008 Category 2 hurricane
[9]
Allen $1.57<$6.0 1980 Category 5 hurricane
[37] [60] [61]
David $1.54<$6.0 1979 Category 5 hurricane
  • The Caribbean
  • United States East Coast
[37] [59]
Alex Dagger-14-plain.png$1.52<$6.0 2010 Category 2 hurricane
  • Central America
  • Greater Antilles
  • Texas
[62] [63] [64] [65]
Juan Dagger-14-plain.png$1.5<$6.0 1985 Category 1 hurricane
  • United States Gulf Coast
[8]
Bob $1.5<$6.0 1991 Category 3 hurricane
  • United States East Coast
  • Canada
[66]
Roxanne $1.5<$6.0 1995 Category 3 hurricane
  • Mexico
[45]
Ingrid $1.5<$6.0 2013 Category 1 hurricane
  • Mexico
[8]
Betsy $1.42<$6.0 1965 Category 4 hurricane
  • Louisiana
  • South Florida
  • Caribbean
[8]
Camille $1.42$26.4 1969 Category 5 hurricane
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • Alabama
  • Virginia
  • Cuba
[8]
Elena $1.3<$6.0 1985 Category 3 hurricane
  • Cuba
  • United States Gulf Coast
[67]
Isidore $1.28<$6.0 2002 Category 3 hurricane
[68] [69]
Lili $1.16<$6.0 2002 Category 4 hurricane
  • Lesser Antilles
  • Greater Antilles
  • Gulf Coast of the United States
[8]
Alberto Dagger-14-plain.png$1.03<$6.0 1994 Tropical storm
  • Southeastern United States
[54]
Emily Dagger-14-plain.png$1.01<$6.0 2005 Category 5 hurricane
[4]
Bonnie Dagger-14-plain.png$1.0<$6.0 1998 Category 3 hurricane
  • Lesser Antilles
  • East Coast of the United States
[4]

See also

Related Research Articles

Hurricane Alberto (2000) Category 3 Atlantic hurricane in 2000

Hurricane Alberto was among the longest-lived tropical cyclones on record in the Atlantic Ocean. The third tropical cyclone, first named storm, and first hurricane of the 2000 Atlantic hurricane season, Alberto developed near the western coast of Africa from a tropical wave on August 3. Initially a tropical depression, it strengthened into Tropical Storm Alberto early on August 4. While briefly turning westward on August 6, Alberto attained hurricane status. The cyclone continued to track west-northwestward, and by early the following day, reached an initial peak with winds of 90 mph (150 km/h). Shortly thereafter, Alberto re-curved northwestward and began encountering increased wind shear. As a result, Alberto weakened back to a tropical storm on August 9. However, the system quickly re-strengthened as winds became more favorable, and early on August 10, Alberto became a hurricane again. The storm gradually curved northward and north-northeastward between August 11 and August 12; Alberto attained its peak intensity with winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) during that time.

2001 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 2001 Atlantic hurricane season was a fairly active Atlantic hurricane season that produced 17 tropical cyclones, 15 named storms, nine hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. The season officially lasted from June 1, 2001, to November 30, 2001, dates which by convention limit the period of each year when tropical cyclones tend to form in the Atlantic Ocean basin. The season began with Tropical Storm Allison on June 4, and ended with Hurricane Olga, which dissipated on December 6. The most intense storm was Hurricane Michelle, which attained Category 4 strength on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale.

1970 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1970 Atlantic hurricane season was the first season of the most recent low-activity era of tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic. It was also the first year in which reconnaissance aircraft flew into all four quadrants of a tropical cyclone. The season officially began on June 1 and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The season was fairly average, with 10 total storms forming, of which five were hurricanes. Two of those five became major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher on the Saffir–Simpson scale. The first system, Hurricane Alma, developed on May 17. The storm killed eight people, seven from flooding in Cuba and one from a lightning strike in Florida. In July, Tropical Storm Becky brought minor flooding to Florida and other parts of the Southern United States, leaving one death and about $500,000 (1970 USD) in damage.

1976 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1976 Atlantic hurricane season featured only one fully tropical storm throughout both the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, a rare occurrence. The season officially began on June 1 and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. However, the first system, a subtropical storm, developed in the Gulf of Mexico on May 21, several days before the official start of the season. The system spawned nine tornadoes in Florida, resulting in about $628,000 (1976 USD) in damage, though impact was minor otherwise. The season was near average, with ten tropical storm forming, of which six became hurricanes. Two of those six became major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher on the Saffir–Simpson scale.

Hurricane Allen Category 5 Atlantic hurricane in 1980

Hurricane Allen was a rare and extremely powerful Cape Verde hurricane that struck the Caribbean, eastern and northern Mexico, and southern Texas in August 1980. The first named storm and first tropical cyclone of the 1980 Atlantic hurricane season, it was the fifth most intense Atlantic Hurricane on record in terms of barometric pressure, behind Hurricane Rita, the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, Hurricane Gilbert, and Hurricane Wilma. It was one of the few hurricanes to reach Category 5 status on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale on three separate occasions, and spent more time as a Category 5 than all but two other Atlantic hurricanes. Allen is the only hurricane in the recorded history of the Atlantic basin to achieve sustained winds of 190 mph (305 km/h), thus making it the strongest Atlantic hurricane by wind speed. Until Hurricane Patricia in 2015, these were also the highest sustained winds in the Western Hemisphere.

Tropical wave type of atmospheric trough

A tropical wave, in and around the Atlantic Ocean, is a type of atmospheric trough, an elongated area of relatively low air pressure, oriented north to south, which moves from east to west across the tropics, causing areas of cloudiness and thunderstorms. Tropical waves form in the easterly flow along the equatorward side of the subtropical ridge or belt of high air pressure which lies north and south of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Tropical waves are generally carried westward by the prevailing easterly winds along the tropics and subtropics near the equator. They can lead to the formation of tropical cyclones in the north Atlantic and northeastern Pacific basins. A tropical wave study is aided by Hovmöller diagrams, a graph of meteorological data.

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