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The Most Expensive Hurricane Season in U.S. History

Hurricane season for the United States starts on June 1 every year. For six months, United States environmental scientists collect data and try to anticipate where a hurricane may landfall on American soil. This year, researchers were frantically studying hurricane paths in a season that will go down in United States history.

The $202.6 billion in damages that this hurricane season caused is now considered the most expensive hurricane season to ever hit America. Disaster modelers Chuck Watson and Mark Johnson calculate the total expenses of every hurricane by adding the sums of the actual physical damages, the clean-up expenses used to remove debris, and the lost business ventures that cannot be recovered within a year of the storm. These three totals are added together to obtain the total monetary loss of a hurricane, the 2017 total reaching the now historic $202.6 billion figure, the largest figure of its kind in the United States.

Researchers are certain about 2017’s terrifying hurricane season being named as the most expensive in United States history; however, average Americans question how researchers can undoubtedly claim such a thing. After all, the America of today looks very different from the past, as the U.S. of 100 years ago had a fraction of the buildings that exist in today’s society. However, Watson and Johnson can effectively “recreate” storms dating back to 1871. When they reenact the hurricanes of history with the infrastructure of today, they can project the damages that such storms would have on modern day cities and states. It is with this information that Watson and Johnson can calculate the damages that past hurricane seasons would have had on the current infrastructure of American society. While the hurricanes of 1893 never actually damaged $185.6 billion worth of infrastructure, this projected amount is an accurate estimate of what the hurricanes would have done had they hit this year.

While the sheer destruction of the 2017 hurricane season is staggering to think about, the statistics do not stop at damage totals. Here are some other stats that sum up the hurricane season of 2017:

  • 10 hurricanes hit America this year.
  • The first year ever that three Category 4 storms made landfall in America.
  • Harvey broke a 12-year chain of America eluding “major hurricanes.”
  • Harvey set a tropical rainfall record of 60 inches in Texas.
  • Hurricane Irma set a worldwide hurricane record by maintaining Category 5 status for 37 hours. This sustained Category 5 status beat the old record by 13 hours.
  • Worldwide storms caused $369.6 billion in damages, which makes it the second-most costly storm year since 1960.
Hopefully, the 2017 hurricane season will be the last record setting year for a long time.