The 2017 And 2016 Hurricane Seasons

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from Colorado State University in April 2017 called for the number of named storms and hurricanes to be slightly below historical averages. A total of 11 named storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes are expected this season. This is slightly below the 30-year average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. A major hurricane is one that is Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted in late May 2017 that the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season would likely be above normal, producing 11 to 17 named storms. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said that as many as nine of those storms could become hurricanes (with winds of 74 mph or higher) and up to four could become major hurricanes (with winds of 111 mph or higher). These numbers include Tropical Storm Arlene, a rare pre-season storm that formed over the eastern Atlantic in April. The outlook reflects NOAA's expectation of a weak or non-existent El Nino and the absence of other conditions that suppress hurricane activity. In an average season there are 12 named storms and three become major hurricanes. According to NOAA there is only a 20 percent chance of below-normal storm activity this year. The agency has new online tools to help people determine their risk from approaching storms, including more precise predictions of a storm's arrival time than have previously been available.

By July 18, four tropical storms had formed in the Atlantic Basin.  Arlene was a rare April storm which formed in the North Atlantic on April 20.  Bret formed on June 19, bringing heavy rain to the southern Windward Islands.  Tropical storm Cindy formed on June 20 with heavy rain across the central Gulf Coast. The storm made landfall on June 22 between western Louisiana and eastern Texas and caused flooding from Louisiana to Pennsylvania and Ohio. Tropical storm Don formed on July 17 in the Windward Islands area of the Carribean Sea.

During the 2016 North Atlantic hurricane season 15 named storms formed in the Atlantic basin, seven of which were hurricanes, and four of which were major hurricanes. Hurricane Alex was just the second hurricane on record to form in the Atlantic Basin during the month of January according to NOAA.

Storms to have made landfall in the United States in 2016 are Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Matthew in South Carolina,  and Tropical Storms Colin and Julia and Hurricane Hermine in Florida. Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005.

Hurricane Hermine made landfall in Florida on September 2 as a Category 1 storm. Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005.

Hurricane Matthew formed in late September and became a hurricane in the South Central Caribbean. Matthew dumped heavy rain on the Bahamas, Haiti and Cuba on October 4 and 5 as a Category 3 storm. On October 7 Matthew grazed the eastern coast of Florida, hitting the state with winds as high as 120 mph and torrential rain. The storm has carried extremely powerful winds for a longer period than any other Atlantic storm on record. Matthew made landfall in the United States on Oct. 8 near McClellanville, South Carolina, as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm caused storm surge flooding as it moved through Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and North and South Carolina. It was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone on October 9th. The death toll from the storm is up to 46 in the United States. Estimates of insured losses for Hurricane Matthew range from $1.5 billion to $7 billion in the U.S. 

Nicole became a hurricane on October 11 and struck Bermuda at category 3 strength on October 13th.

In the Pacific, 18 named storms have developed and 10 have become hurricanes. In early September, Hurricanes Lester and Madeline threatened Hawaii before veering off. On September 6 Hurricane Newton made landfall on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California as a Category 1 storm with winds of 90 mph.

The following chart from the Property Claim Services (PCS®) unit of ISO, a Verisk Analytics® business, ranks historic hurricanes based on their insured losses, adjusted for inflation. The chart beneath it, from AIR Worldwide Corporation, estimates insured property losses from notable hurricanes from past years, if they were to hit the nation again today with the same meteorological parameters.

Top 10 Costliest Hurricanes In The United States (1)

($ millions)

        Estimated insured loss (2)
Rank Date Location Hurricane Dollars when
In 2016
dollars (3)
1 Aug. 25-30, 2005 AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, TN Hurricane Katrina $41,100 $49,793
2 Aug. 24-26, 1992 FL, LA Hurricane Andrew 15,500 24,478
3 Oct. 28-31, 2012 CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME,
Hurricane Sandy 18,750 19,860
4 Sep. 12-14, 2008 AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, OH, PA, TX Hurricane Ike 12,500 14,036
5 Oct. 24, 2005 FL Hurricane Wilma 10,300 12,479
6 Aug. 13-14, 2004 FL, NC, SC Hurricane Charley 7,475 9,348
7 Sep. 15-21, 2004 AL, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV Hurricane Ivan 7,110 8,891
8 Sep. 17-22, 1989 GA, NC, PR, SC, UV, VA Hurricane Hugo 4,195 7,260
9 Sep. 20-26, 2005 AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, TN, TX Hurricane Rita 5,627 6,817
10 Sep. 3-9, 2004 FL, GA, NC, NY, SC Hurricane Frances 4,595 5,746

(1) Includes hurricanes occurring through 2016.
(2) Property coverage only. Excludes flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(3) Adjusted for inflation through 2016 by ISO using the GDP implicit price deflator.

Source: Property Claim Services (PCS®), a Verisk Analytics® business.

View Archived Tables


Estimated Insured Losses For The Top 10 Historical Hurricanes Based On Current Exposures (1)

($ billions)

Rank Date Event Category Insured loss
(current exposures)
1 Sep. 18, 1926 Miami Hurricane 4 $125
2 Aug. 24, 1992 Hurricane Andrew 5 57
3 Sep. 17, 1947 1947 Fort Lauderdale Hurricane 4 53
4 Sep. 17, 1928 Great Okeechobee Hurricane 5 51
5 Aug. 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina 3 (2) 45
6 Sep. 9, 1965 Hurricane Betsy 3 45
7 Sep. 9, 1900 Galveston Hurricane of 1900 4 41
8 Sep. 10, 1960 Hurricane Donna 4 35
9 Sep. 21, 1938 The Great New England Hurricane 3 33
10 Sep. 15, 1950 Hurricane Easy 3 23

(1) Modeled loss to property, contents and business interruption and additional living expenses for residential, mobile home, commercial and auto exposures as of December 31, 2011. Losses include demand surge.
(2) Refers to Katrina’s second landfall in Louisiana.

Source: AIR Worldwide Corporation.