2017 was the most expensive year on record for weather-related disasters across the US, racking up an estimated $310 billion in damage.¹ That beats the previous record ($219 billion in 2005) by almost $100 billion. Topping 2017’s list of billion-dollar weather events were three hurricanes—Harvey, Maria, and Irma. Of the $310 billion in weather-related damage in 2017, hurricanes accounted for a whopping 86%.
Now June is upon us, and so is hurricane season. 2018 has already seen three weather events that exceeded a billion dollars in damage, and hurricanes are sure to add to that number.² In anticipation of 2018’s hurricane season, SafeWise decided to find out what those hurricane losses look like at the state and territory level. To calculate the total monetary damage in each state, we examined five years of hurricane data and included losses due to both property and crop damage.
Hurricane Damage in Dollars
To find out just how much monetary damage* hurricanes cause, we looked at five years of hurricane data and tallied up the costs. Here’s a peek at some of our findings:
- Texas leads the way with more than $61 billion in monetary damage.
- Texas racked up nearly $40 billion more than the next closest state, Mississippi ($22 billion).
- If the cost of hurricane damages were divided equally among all Texans, each person would get a bill for $2,445.
- Mississippi is the most expensive state for hurricane damage per capita with a whopping $7,606 per person.
- Virginia had the 10th largest monetary damage in the nation, but it would only cost every Virginian $1 to pay their share.
- Four US locales saw more than a billion dollars in losses due to hurricanes: Texas, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and Florida.
*Monetary damage includes property and crop damage estimates.
Which States Do Hurricanes Hit the Most Often?
Do you live in a hurricane hotspot? If you’re not sure, check out our map to see if your home is in one of the states that hurricanes hit the most. (Some of them might surprise you!)
SafeWise looked at the total number of hurricane-related storm events recorded in each state over a five-year period. That could include flooding, lightning, and any weather event that was attributed to a hurricane by the recorder.
Concentration of Hurricane-Related Deaths, 2013-2017
SafeWise calculated the total numbers of hurricane-related injuries and deaths recorded over a five-year period. That could include injury due to flooding, lightning, and any other weather event that was attributed to a hurricane.
*There is uncertainty about the official Puerto Rico numbers from 2017; SafeWise used the most accurate data available at the time of publication. A Harvard University study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in May 2018 estimates that the number of deaths linked to Hurricane Maria could be more than 4,600.
SafeWise analyzed data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Census Bureau for the information in this article. We examined reports of severe weather events from 2013–2017 to identify those that were related to or caused by hurricanes, then sorted the data by number of fatalities and injuries (both direct and indirect) as well as the estimated monetary value of any property or crop damage.
Tips to Stay Safe This Hurricane Season
Preparation is your best defense when it comes to hurricanes. Here are SafeWise’s top recommendations to help you stay safe and mitigate costly damage during 2018’s hurricane season.
- Create an emergency and evacuation plan
- Make sure you have the right insurance in place (flood, etc.)
- Know evacuation routes if you live near the coast
- Stock up on supplies like batteries, flashlights, and a first-aid kit
- Make sure you have plenty of water and nonperishable food
- Fuel up vehicles and keep extra fuel on hand
- Consider a portable generator in case you lose power
- Board up windows and doors
- Tie down or otherwise secure outdoor objects
- If you live in a flood zone, get ready with sandbags and other safeguards
- Stay updated about the storm’s progress on TV, radio, or the internet
- If told to evacuate, get on the move immediately
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information, “Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview”
- NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, “Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Table of Events”