This is a list of costliest Atlantic hurricanes. Hurricanes, as defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), are tropical cyclones—a warm-core, non-frontal synoptic-scale cyclone, originating over tropical or subtropical waters, with organized deep convection and a closed surface wind circulation about a well-defined center—in the Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, or eastern Pacific, in which the maximum 1-minute sustained surface wind exceeds 64 knots (74 mph ; 119 km/h ) or greater. The list includes each of the most damaging hurricanes recorded, and it depicts the severity of the damage each system has caused. Typically, if a hurricane has caused significant damage to a particular location, its name is retired so that it will not be re-used as a name for any future hurricanes. The costliest tropical cyclone on record in the Atlantic is held jointly by hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, both of which resulted in $125 billion in property damage during the year they occurred.
An Atlantic hurricane or tropical storm is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Atlantic Ocean, usually between the months of June and November. A hurricane differs from a cyclone or typhoon only on the basis of location. A hurricane is a storm that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, and a cyclone occurs in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere.
A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".
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, and Lee in 2011 caused over a billion dollars in damage. Flooding typically accounts for about 60% of all of a storm's damages, and this is reflected in the list with Allison, Harvey, and Florence, 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.
Tropical Storm Alberto was the costliest and first named storm of the 1994 Atlantic hurricane season. It hit Florida across the Southeast United States in July, causing massive flooding while stalling over Georgia and Alabama. Alberto was responsible for $1.03 billion in damages and 32 deaths.
The 1994 Atlantic hurricane season was the final season in the most recent low-activity era of tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic. It produced seven named tropical cyclones and three hurricanes, a total below the seasonal average. The season officially started on June 1 and ended on November 30, dates which conventionally limit the period during which most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic Ocean. The first tropical cyclone, Tropical Storm Alberto, developed on June 30, while the last storm, Hurricane Gordon, dissipated on November 21. The season was unusual in that it produced no major hurricanes, which are those of Category 3 status or higher on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale. The most intense hurricane, Hurricane Florence, peaked as a Category 2 storm with winds of 110 mph (180 km/h). Aside from Chris, Florence, and Gordon, none of the storms exceeded tropical storm intensity.
Tropical Storm Allison was a tropical storm that devastated southeast Texas in June of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season. An arguable example of the "brown ocean effect", Allison lasted unusually long for a June storm, remaining tropical or subtropical for 15 days, most of which when the storm was over land dumping torrential rainfall. The storm developed from a tropical wave in the northern Gulf of Mexico on June 4, 2001, and struck the upper Texas coast shortly thereafter. It drifted northward through the state, turned back to the south, and re-entered the Gulf of Mexico. The storm continued to the east-northeast, made landfall on Louisiana, then moved across the southeast United States and Mid-Atlantic. Allison was the first storm since Tropical Storm Frances in 1998 to strike the northern Texas coastline.
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, eleven storms have caused at least $1 billion in damage, the most recent of which is Hurricane Michael, which accrued at least $25.1 billion in damage.
Hurricane Betsy was an intense and destructive tropical cyclone that brought widespread damage to areas of Florida and the central United States Gulf Coast in September 1965. The storm's erratic nature, coupled with its intensity and minimized preparation time contributed to making Betsy the first tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin to accrue at least $1 billion in damage. While the storm primarily affected areas of southern Florida and Louisiana, lesser effects were felt in the Bahamas and as far inland in the United States as the Ohio River Valley. Betsy began as a tropical depression north of French Guiana on August 27, and strengthened as it moved in a general northwesterly direction. After executing a slight anticyclonic loop north of the Bahamas, Betsy proceeded to move through areas of south Florida on September 8, causing extensive crop damage. After emerging into the Gulf of Mexico, the cyclone strengthened and reached its peak intensity equivalent to that of a Category 4 hurricane on September 10 before making its final landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana, shortly thereafter. Once inland, Betsy was slow to weaken, and persisted for two more days before degenerating into an extratropical storm; these remnants lasted until September 13.
The 1965 Atlantic hurricane season was the first to use the modern-day bounds for an Atlantic hurricane season, which are June 1 to November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. It was one of the least active seasons on record, with only 6 tropical cyclones developing and reaching tropical storm intensity. Four of the storms strengthened into hurricanes. One system reached major hurricane intensity – Category 3 or higher on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale. The first system, an unnamed tropical storm, developed during the month of June in the Pacific Ocean, while located south of Guatemala. The storm moved northward across Central America, but caused no known impact in the region. It struck the Florida Panhandle and caused minor impact across much of the Southern United States. Tropical cyclogenesis halted for over two months, until Anna formed on August 21. The storm remained well away from land in the far North Atlantic Ocean and caused no impact.
Louisiana is a state in the Deep South region of the South Central United States. It is the 31st most extensive and the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Louisiana is bordered by the state of Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. A large part of its eastern boundary is demarcated by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is the only U.S. state with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are equivalent to counties. The state's capital is Baton Rouge, and its largest city is New Orleans.
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.
The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent (¢) units, but is occasionally divided into 1000 mills (₥) for accounting. The circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars.
In economics, a real value, of a good or other entity, is one which has been adjusted for inflation, enabling comparison of quantities as if prices had not changed. Changes in real terms therefore exclude the effect of inflation. In contrast with a real value, a nominal value has not been adjusted for inflation, and so changes in nominal value reflect at least in part the effect of inflation.
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. isThe general formula for normalized losses
Roger A. Pielke Jr. is an American political scientist and professor and the director of the Sports Governance Center within the Department of Athletics at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Christopher William "Chris" Landsea is an American meteorologist, formerly a research meteorologist with Hurricane Research Division of Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory at NOAA, and now the Science and Operations Officer at the National Hurricane Center. He is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.
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.
In economics, the GDP deflator is a measure of the level of prices of all new, domestically produced, final goods and services in an economy in a year. GDP stands for gross domestic product, the total monetary value of all final goods and services produced within the territory of a country over a particular period of time.
|Name|| Nominal damage|
|Season||Storm classification |
at peak intensity
|Katrina||$125.0||$116.9||2005||Category 5 hurricane|
|Harvey||$125.0||$62.2||2017||Category 4 hurricane|
|Maria||$91.6||N/A||2017||Category 5 hurricane|
|Irma||$77.2||$31.0||2017||Category 5 hurricane|
|Sandy||$68.7||$73.5||2012||Category 3 hurricane|
|Ike||$38.0||$35.2||2008||Category 4 hurricane|
|Wilma||$27.4||$31.9||2005||Category 5 hurricane|
|Andrew||$27.3||$106.0||1992||Category 5 hurricane|
|Ivan||$26.1||$25.9||2004||Category 5 hurricane|
|Michael||>$25.1||N/A||2018||Category 5 hurricane|
|Florence||>$24.2||N/A||2018||Category 4 hurricane|
|Rita||$18.5||$14.9||2005||Category 5 hurricane|
|Charley||$16.9||$26.9||2004||Category 4 hurricane|
|Matthew||$16.5||$8.6||2016||Category 5 hurricane|
|Irene||$14.2||$10.8||2011||Category 3 hurricane|
|Georges||$13.9||<$6.0||1998||Category 4 hurricane|
|Frances||$10.1||$16.5||2004||Category 4 hurricane|
|Hugo||$9.47||$25.1||1989||Category 5 hurricane|
|Gustav||$8.31||<$6.0||2008||Category 4 hurricane|
|Jeanne||$7.94||$13.6||2004||Category 3 hurricane|
|Floyd||$6.5||$13.9||1999||Category 4 hurricane|
|Mitch||$6.08||<$6.0||1998||Category 5 hurricane|
|Isabel||$5.5||<$6.0||2003||Category 5 hurricane|
|Fran||$5.0||$11.1||1996||Category 3 hurricane|
|Opal||$4.7||$10.0||1995||Category 4 hurricane|
|Stan||$3.96||<$6.0||2005||Category 1 hurricane|
| Karl ||$3.9||<$6.0||2010||Category 3 hurricane|
|Dennis||$3.98||<$6.0||2005||Category 4 hurricane|
| Isaac ||$3.11||<$6.0||2012||Category 1 hurricane|
|Alicia||$3.0||$13.6||1983||Category 3 hurricane|
|Gilbert||$2.98||<$6.0||1988||Category 5 hurricane|
|Luis||$2.97||<$6.0||1995||Category 4 hurricane|
| Lee ||$2.8||<$6.0||2011||Tropical storm|
|Michelle||$2.35||<$6.0||2001||Category 4 hurricane|
|Marilyn||$2.1||<$6.0||1995||Category 3 hurricane|
|Agnes||$2.1||$26.0||1972||Category 1 hurricane|
|Dean||$1.95||<$6.0||2007||Category 5 hurricane|
|Joan||$1.87||<$6.0||1988||Category 4 hurricane|
|Fifi||$1.8||<$6.0||1974||Category 2 hurricane|
|Frederic||$1.77||<$6.0||1979||Category 4 hurricane|
| Dolly ||$1.6||<$6.0||2008||Category 2 hurricane|
|Allen||$1.57||<$6.0||1980||Category 5 hurricane|
|David||$1.54||<$6.0||1979||Category 5 hurricane|
| Alex ||$1.52||<$6.0||2010||Category 2 hurricane|
| Juan ||$1.5||<$6.0||1985||Category 1 hurricane|
|Bob||$1.5||<$6.0||1991||Category 3 hurricane|
|Roxanne||$1.5||<$6.0||1995||Category 3 hurricane|
|Ingrid||$1.5||<$6.0||2013||Category 1 hurricane|
|Betsy||$1.43||<$6.0||1965||Category 4 hurricane|
|Camille||$1.43||$26.4||1969||Category 5 hurricane|
|Elena||$1.3||<$6.0||1985||Category 3 hurricane|
|Isidore||$1.28||<$6.0||2002||Category 3 hurricane|
|Lili||$1.16||<$6.0||2002||Category 4 hurricane|
| Alberto ||$1.03||<$6.0||1994||Tropical storm|
| Emily ||$1.01||<$6.0||2005||Category 5 hurricane|
| Bonnie ||$1.0||<$6.0||1998||Category 3 hurricane|
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.
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.
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.
The 1979 Atlantic hurricane season was the first season to include both male and female names, as well as the common six-year rotating lists of tropical cyclone names. 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. It was slightly below average, with nine systems reaching tropical storm intensity. The first system, an unnumbered tropical depression, developed north of Puerto Rico on June 9. Two days later, Tropical Depression One formed and produced severe flooding in Jamaica, with 40 deaths and about $27 million (1979 USD) in damage. Tropical Storm Ana caused minimal impact in the Lesser Antilles. Hurricane Bob spawned tornadoes and produced minor wind damage along the Gulf Coast of the United States, primarily in Louisiana, while the remnants caused flooding, especially in Indiana. Tropical Storm Claudette caused extensive flooding, due to torrential rainfall. There were two deaths and damaged totaled $750 million.
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 one of the strongest hurricanes in recorded history. 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. These were also the highest sustained winds in the Western Hemisphere until Hurricane Patricia in 2015.
The 1911 Atlantic hurricane season was relatively inactive, with only six known tropical cyclones forming in the Atlantic during the summer and fall. There were three suspected tropical depressions, including one that began the season in February and one that ended the season when it dissipated in December. Three storms intensified into hurricanes, two of which attained Category 2 status on the modern-day Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. Storm data is largely based on the Atlantic hurricane database, which underwent a thorough revision for the period between 1911 and 1914 in 2005.
A Pacific hurricane is a mature tropical cyclone that develops within the eastern and central Pacific Ocean to the east of 180°W, north of the equator. For tropical cyclone warning purposes, the northern Pacific is divided into three regions: the eastern, central, and western, while the southern Pacific is divided into 2 sections, the Australian region and the southern Pacific basin between 160°E and 120°W. Identical phenomena in the western north Pacific are called typhoons. This separation between the two basins has a practical convenience, however, as tropical cyclones rarely form in the central north Pacific due to high vertical wind shear, and few cross the dateline.
Tropical cyclogenesis is the development and strengthening of a tropical cyclone in the atmosphere. The mechanisms through which tropical cyclogenesis occurs are distinctly different from those through which temperate cyclogenesis occurs. Tropical cyclogenesis involves the development of a warm-core cyclone, due to significant convection in a favorable atmospheric environment.
Extratropical cyclones, sometimes called mid-latitude cyclones or wave cyclones, are low-pressure areas which, along with the anticyclones of high-pressure areas, drive the weather over much of the Earth. Extratropical cyclones are capable of producing anything from cloudiness and mild showers to heavy gales, thunderstorms, blizzards, and tornadoes. These types of cyclones are defined as large scale (synoptic) low pressure weather systems that occur in the middle latitudes of the Earth. In contrast with tropical cyclones, extratropical cyclones produce rapid changes in temperature and dew point along broad lines, called weather fronts, about the center of the cyclone.