Costliest hurricanes of all time
Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 storm in Louisiana in the early hours of Aug. 27, with the National Hurricane Center issuing a warning of an "unsurvivable" storm surge to follow along the Gulf Coast.
A single hurricane can cause billions of dollars in damage, not to mention the physical and emotional toll it takes on those in its path. In just the last several years, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have caused extensive damage and death tolls, with the full impact of Laura coming into sharper focus in the coming days and weeks.
2020's Atlantic hurricane season spans from June 1 to Nov. 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a busier hurricane season than normal—an expectation that was exceeded by a record-setting nine named storms that formed before Aug. 1. Preparation for this year's storms is different from years past due to the coronavirus, with additional shelters, the wearing of masks, and increased hygiene protocols in place to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
Hurricane recovery plans include everything from the basic distribution of food and water supplies to rebuilding highways, energy grid improvements, and far-reaching infrastructure upgrades.
Stacker took a look at NOAA data to extrapolate the costliest hurricanes of all time. In this gallery, you’ll find the category of the storm, the year it occurred, and the region it impacted. The data includes hurricanes that impacted Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the cost listed is in current U.S. dollars which have been adjusted for inflation. This data also addresses the cost of these hurricanes to the U.S. (and its territories), not to other countries or regions. More information on the methodology can be found at the National Hurrican Center.
Read on for the costliest hurricanes of all time.
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- Estimated cost: $1.64 billion
- Start date: Sept. 25, 2002
- End date: Sept. 27, 2002
- Deaths: 5
- Estimated cost: $1.77 billion
- Start date: July 7, 1994
- End date: July 10, 1994
- Deaths: 32
- Estimated cost: $1.96 billion
- Start date: Aug. 7, 1980
- End date: Aug. 11, 1980
- Deaths: 13
- Estimated cost: $2.10 billion
- Start date: Sept. 26, 1985
- End date: Sept. 28, 1985
- Deaths: 11
- Estimated cost: $2.89 billion
- Start date: Aug. 18, 1991
- End date: Aug. 20, 1991
- Deaths: 18
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- Estimated cost: $2.94 billion
- Start date: Sept. 1, 2011
- End date: Sept. 5, 2011
- Deaths: 21
- Estimated cost: $3.15 billion
- Start date: Aug. 26, 2012
- End date: Aug. 31, 2012
- Deaths: 9
- Estimated cost: $3.18 billion
- Start date: Aug. 30, 1985
- End date: Sept. 3, 1985
- Deaths: 4
- Estimated cost: $3.39 billion
- Start date: July 9, 2005
- End date: July 11, 2005
- Deaths: 15
- Estimated cost: $3.61 billion
- Start date: Sept. 15, 1995
- End date: Sept. 17, 1995
- Deaths: 13
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