Hurricanes are the world's costliest natural disasters. When they hit an area, they destroy buildings, ruin infrastructure, and can knock out local economies for weeks, months, or even years. When Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast, it caused over $125 billion in damage and left a trail of destruction that some areas are still recovering from.
Since hurricanes are so destructive, experts spend significant amounts of time and money to research them so we can better understand when, where, and how often they’ll happen. According to a 2019 report, hurricanes are becoming more common and increasingly strong.
The 2020 hurricane season seemed to have confirmed this report’s warning. The hurricane season was so prolific that the World Meteorological Organization ran out of names for storms. It had to resort to using the Greek alphabet—something it hasn’t needed to do since 2005.
Since hurricanes are getting stronger and more common, so are the costs associated with each one.
Study Reveals Hurricanes Are More Damaging Than 100 Years Ago
According to one report, storms are causing damage to portions of the United States at an historically unprecedented rate. As mentioned above, Hurricane Harvey cost the United States $125 billion. It’s the second-costliest storm in US history. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina claimed the title of the most expensive storm after it caused $161 billion in damage.
In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that storms that cause significant damage are becoming more common than storms that do not. "We estimate that there has been a tripling in the rate of the most damaging storms over the last century," Aslak Grinsted, lead researcher, told Business Insider
Why Are Hurricanes Getting Worse?
Research links the high rate of powerful storms to higher temperatures. As temperatures rise, so does the likelihood of significant storms. Another factor that makes storms cause more monetary loss is the increase in property values along the coast and inland. As homes are worth more money, frequent powerful storms are destroying them, racking up the cost of damages.
To determine if storms are more damaging or if property values are increasing, researchers had to develop an accurate model to measure damage across time. So, they compared storms by the amount of land area that they impacted.
"We cannot directly compare the damage from the 1926 Great Miami hurricane with that from Hurricane Irma in 2017 without considering the increased amount of valuable property exposed," the report says.
The researchers discovered that 240 tropical storms and hurricanes made landfall in the United States between 1900 and 2008. After examining how much land these storms impacted, the report found that damaging hurricanes and tropical storms have increased by 330 percent in the last century. Unfortunately, researchers also determined that more destructive storms are on our horizon. As global temperatures rise, so will the frequency of significant storms.
"In the short term, we cannot hope to combat storms. So, the risk has to be reduced in other ways: adapting, and reducing exposure," Grinsted said. "It is also important to keep improving forecasting."
If you’re suffering because of the damage caused by a hurricane, help is available. Call our hurricane insurance lawyers today for help getting the compensation you need to rebuild your life and business. We’re standing by to provide a free consultation right now at (888) 400-2101.