Facts + Statistics: Hurricanes

The official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November, but occasionally storms form outside those months. September is the most common month for hurricanes making landfall in the U.S., followed by August and October, according to an analysis of 1851 to 2015 data by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. No hurricanes made U.S. landfall before June and after November during the period studied.

 
The 2018 Hurricane Season

2018 Hurricane Forecast: Dr. Philip Klotzbach and Michael Bell of Colorado State University (CSU) released an updated forecast for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season in early August. The CSU team is now calling for a below-normal season with a total of 12 named storms (including Alberto which formed in May), five hurricanes and one major hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater; Category 3-5 on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale). This prediction is a considerable reduction from their June outlook which called for 14 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. A typical year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) have sustained wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour.

2018: By November eight hurricanes had formed in the Atlantic region. Florence became the third hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season and reached Category 4 status on September 10. Hurricane Florence made landfall on September 14 near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina as a Category 1 storm. It became a slow-moving storm that brought hurricane-force winds, life-threatening storm surge, and freshwater flooding and at least 30 inches of rain in parts of North Carolina and claimed at least 42 lives in the Carolinas and Virginia. The storm set a record in North Carolina for rain from a hurricane. The previous record was 24 inches caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Catastrophe modelers have estimated that insured losses from Hurricane Florence would range from $2.5 billion to $5.0 billion, excluding National Flood Insurance Program losses. In addition, between 70 percent and 85 percent of flood losses are estimated to be uninsured.

Hurricane Michael became a strong Category 4 storm on October 10 and made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida in the Florida panhandle. Hurricane Michael, which struck Florida with wind speeds just under Category 5, may be the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Florida panhandle and could be the strongest hurricane to make landfall in that region since Hurricane Dennis in 2005. Unofficial reports put the death toll from Michael at about 40. According to CoreLogic there were 57,000 homes at risk of coastal storm surge totaling over $13 billion in reconstruction cost value (RCVs) across Florida alone. Other catastrophe modelers estimated that insured losses from Hurricane Michael could range from $6 billion to $8 billion.

 
The 2017 Hurricane Season

The hurricane season of 2017 broke several records, as 17 tropical storms formed in the Atlantic Basin, 10 of which, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate and Ophelia, became hurricanes. Six hurricanes became major storms, Category 3 and above—Harvey, Irma, Jose, Lee, Maria and Ophelia. Two hurricanes, Irma and Maria, reached Category 5 strength. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was the first time three Category 4 hurricanes—Harvey, Irma and Maria—made landfall in the United States and its territories in one year, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

On August 25 Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm. Harvey was the first major hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, and the first Category 4 hurricane to affect Texas since Hurricane Carla in 1961. The last time a hurricane made landfall in Texas was in 2008 when Hurricane Ike, a Category 2 storm, struck the state. Harvey brought unprecedented flooding from rainfall to Texas and Louisiana. About 50 inches of rain fell in portions of the Greater Houston area and the upper Texas coast, breaking records. On August 30 Harvey made landfall west of Cameron, Louisiana, as a tropical storm, continuing to bring rain to southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. Tens of thousands of people were displaced due to flood waters, with thousands of homes and businesses destroyed. At least 68 direct deaths related to Hurricane Harvey have been reported in Texas. Harvey was the deadliest U.S. hurricane in terms of direct deaths since Sandy in 2012, and the deadliest to hit Texas since 1919, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Loss estimates are not yet available from the Property Claims Services (PCS) unit of ISO, but it has provided a relative ranking for Harvey as the sixth costliest hurricane to hit the United States, excluding flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program. PCS estimates that insured losses from Hurricane Harvey will top $14 billion.

Hurricane Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key in the Lower Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane on September 10, and a second landfall in Florida in Marco Island in Southwest Florida as a Category 3 hurricane. The storm brought high storm surge to Naples and widespread damaging winds across most of Florida. Hurricane Irma was one of the most powerful and costliest hurricanes in the Atlantic Basic, and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. At its peak it was a Category 5 storm, and was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since Katrina in 2005. Complete devastation was reported in the Northern Leeward Islands and Virgin Islands. According to NOAA, the Florida Keys were heavily impacted, with 25 percent of buildings destroyed, and 65 percent significantly damaged. Irma brought record storm surge to parts of the Southeast coast, including Jacksonville, Florida, with significant coastal flooding extending into the Carolinas. Irma caused 10 direct deaths in the United States, three in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the remainder on mainland United States, according to NOAA. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported that as of August 13, 2018 about 997,000 claims were filed in the state from Irma, resulting in $10.5 billion in insured losses.  To date, 92 percent of claims have been closed, either paid or unpaid. Loss estimates are not yet available from the Property Claims Services (PCS) unit of ISO, but it has provided a relative ranking for Irma as the fourth costliest hurricane to hit the United States, excluding flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program. PCS estimates that insured losses from Hurricane Irma will be more than $20 billion.

Maria became a Category 5 hurricane on September 18, passing over St. Croix in the Virgin Islands and later made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Puerto Rico. Maria was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since a Category 5 hurricane hit the island in 1928. Maria caused 65 official direct deaths and catastrophic damage to much of the island. Maria brought extreme rainfall, up to 37 inches, with widespread flooding and mudslides, according to NOAA. The government of Puerto Rico later estimated that the number of deaths was 1,427 due to delayed or interrupted health care, and raised that tally to 2,975 after a study was conducted by George Washington University. Loss estimates are not yet available from the Property Claims Services (PCS) unit of ISO, but it has provided a relative ranking for Maria as the second costliest hurricane to hit the United States, surpassed in losses only by Hurricane Katrina, which caused about $50 billion in insured losses in 2017 dollars. PCS estimates that insured losses from Hurricane Irma will be more than $25 billion.

Hurricane Nate made a first landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on October 7 near the mouth of the Mississippi River, and a second landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi, on October 8. Nate was the fourth hurricane to make landfall in the United States in 2017, the first year the United States has had four landfalls since 2005.

 
Catastrophic Hurricane Losses In The United States, 2007-2016

($ billions)

    Estimated insured loss     Estimated insured loss
Year Number of
catastrophic
hurricanes (1)
Dollars when
occurred
In 2016
dollars (2)
Year Number of
catastrophic
hurricanes (1)
Dollars when
occurred
In 2016
dollars (2)
2007 0 (3) NA NA 2012 2 $19.7 $20.8
2008 3 $15.2 $17.0 2013 0 (3) NA NA
2009 0 (3) NA NA 2014 0 (3) NA NA
2010 0 (3) NA NA 2015 0 (3) NA NA
2011 1 4.3 4.6 2016 2 2.9 2.9

(1) Hurricanes causing insured property losses of at least $25 million in 1997 dollars and affecting a significant number of policyholders and insurers. Exclude losses covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(2) Adjusted for inflation through 2016 by ISO using the GDP implicit price deflator.
(3) No hurricane met the PCS definition of a catastrophe.

Source: The Property Claim Services® (PCS®) unit of ISO®, a Verisk Analytics® company.

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Costliest U.S. Hurricanes

The following chart from PCS 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 today with the same meteorological parameters.

 
Top 10 Costliest Hurricanes In The United States (1)

($ millions)

        Estimated insured losses (2)
Rank Date Location Hurricane Dollars when
occurred
In 2017
dollars (3)
1 Aug. 25-30, 2005 AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, TN Hurricane Katrina $41,100 $50,751
2 Sep.19-22, 2017 PR, UV Hurrican Maria (3) (3)
3 Aug. 24-26, 1992 FL, LA Hurricane Andrew 15,500 24,852
4 Sep. 6-12, 2017 AL, FL, GA, NC, PR, SC, UV Hurricane Irma (3) (3)
5 Oct. 28-31, 2012 CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV Hurricane Sandy 18,750 20,240
6 Aug. 25-Sep. 1, 2017 AL, LA, MS, NC, TN, TX Hurricane Harvey (3) (3)
7 Sep. 12-14, 2008 AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, OH, PA, TX Hurricane Ike 12,500 14,311
8 Oct. 24, 2005 FL Hurricane Wilma 10,300 12,719
9 Aug. 13-14, 2004 FL, NC, SC Hurricane Charley 7,475 9,518
10 Sep. 15-21, 2004 AL, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV Hurricane Ivan 7,110 9,053

(1) Property coverage only. Does not include flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(2) Adjusted for inflation through 2017 by the Insurance Information Institute using the GDP implicit price deflator.
(3) Loss estimate not yet available from PCS, but a relative ranking is provided.

Source: The Property Claim Services® (PCS®) unit of ISO®; a Verisk Analytics® company, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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

($ billions)

Rank Date Event Category 2017 insured loss
1 Sep. 18, 1926 Great Miami Hurricane 4 $128
2 Sep. 17, 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane 4 78
3 Aug. 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina 3 (2) 64
4 Sep. 17, 1947 1947 Fort Lauderdale Hurricane 4 62
5 Sep. 9, 1965 Hurricane Betsy 4 (2) 57
6 Aug. 24, 1992 Hurricane Andrew 5 56
7 Sep. 10, 1960 Hurricane Donna 4 50
8 Sep. 21, 1938 The Great New England Hurricane 3 50
9 Sep. 9, 1900 1900 Galveston Hurricane 4 49
10 Aug. 17, 1915 1915 Galveston Hurricane 3 25

(1) Modeled loss to property, contents and business interruption and additional living expenses for residential, mobile home, commercial and auto exposures as of end-2016. Losses include demand surge and account for storm surge.
(2) Strength at second landfall in Louisiana.

Source: AIR Worldwide Corporation.

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Hurricanes And Related Deaths In The United States, 1998-2017

Year Total
hurricanes (1)
Made landfall
as hurricane
in the U.S.
Deaths (2)
1998 10 3 23
1999 8 2 60
2000 8 0 4
2001 9 0 42
2002 4 1 5
2003 7 2 24
2004 9 6 (3) 59
2005 15 7 1,518
2006 5 0 0
2007 6 1 1
2008 8 4 (4) 41
2009 3 1 (5) 6
2010 12 0 11
2011 7 1 44
2012 10 1 (6) 83
2013 2 0 1
2014 6 1 2
2015 4 0 3
2016 7 3 36
2017 10 4 147

(1) Atlantic Basin.
(2) Includes fatalities from high winds of less than hurricane force from tropical storms.
(3) One hurricane (Alex) is considered a strike but not technically a landfall.
(4) Includes one hurricane (Hanna) which made landfall as a tropical storm.
(5) Hurricane Ida, which made landfall as a tropical storm.
(6) Excludes Hurricane Sandy which made landfall as a post-tropical storm.

Source: Insurance Information Institute from data supplied by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Hurricane Center.

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Storm Surge Risk By State By Number Of Homes and Reconstruction Value, 2018 (1)

 

    By number of single-family homes
Rank State Extreme Very high High Moderate Low (2)
1 Florida 351,093 1,064,674 1,752,603 2,292,791 2,774,175
2 Louisiana 72,256 207,442 624,521 747,111 817,480
3 Texas 39,109 117,558 253,947 384,944 543,847
4 New Jersey 95,659 278,539 382,065 471,353 (3)
5 New York 75,238 224,558 347,236 462,380 (3)
6 Virginia 26,960 94,378 246,824 366,478 409,129
7 South Carolina 35,934 126,997 209,026 294,239 347,030
8 North Carolina 32,282 95,286 160,831 210,233 259,718
9 Massachusetts 11,048 46,558 102,189 157,898 (3)
10 Georgia 8,887 50,409 105,735 141,518 152,559
11 Maryland 17,824 60,553 99,056 125,417 (3)
12 Mississippi 9,261 30,353 60,620 90,010 101,720
13 Pennsylvania 932 20,815 56,830 83,808 (3)
14 Connecticut 7,167 28,497 46,618 67,207 (3)
15 Alabama 6,379 17,306 32,331 44,744 57,973
16 Delaware 8,901 24,649 40,048 56,418 (3)
17 Rhode Island 1,876 8,153 17,312 26,484 (3)
18 Maine 5,645 7,960 11,851 18,150 (3)
19 New Hampshire 284 4,551 7,446 9,753 (3)
  Total homes potentially affected 806,735 2,509,236 4,557,089 6,050,936 6,942,499
    By reconstruction value (4)
($ millions)
Rank State Extreme Very high High Moderate Low (2)
1 Florida $68,993 $214,615 $353,434 $458,546 $552,418
2 New York 29,069 92,193 142,654 190,524 (3)
3 Louisiana 15,058 44,362 141,431 169,398 186,089
4 New Jersey 27,211 83,141 116,379 146,074 (3)
5 Texas 6,545 20,281 46,590 73,690 103,258
6 Virginia 6,889 23,533 57,148 84,231 95,057
7 South Carolina 10,366 33,690 52,352 70,363 80,775
8 North Carolina 6,503 19,557 33,348 43,888 54,356
9 Massachusetts 2,980 13,364 29,309 46,443 (3)
10 Georgia 2,740 13,213 24,703 31,745 33,764
11 Maryland 4,349 14,484 23,474 29,807 (3)
12 Connecticut 2,559 9,609 15,453 22,112 (3)
13 Mississippi 1,977 6,157 11,914 17,373 19,558
14 Pennsylvania 216 4,664 13,121 19,445 (3)
15 Delaware 2,636 7,021 11,464 16,078 (3)
16 Alabama 1,204 3,124 5,790 7,962 10,140
17 Rhode Island 529 2,408 5,094 7,809 (3)
18 Maine 1,281 1,914 2,960 4,634 (3)
19 New Hampshire 64 933 1,721 2,312 (3)
  Total homes potentially affected $191,171 $608,264 $1,088,339 $1,442,436 $1,620,653

(1) The risk categories are cumulative and increase in value from extreme to low. Extreme risk signals the higher risk of damage from a weak hurricane, while low risk includes up to Category 5 hurricanes that are the least likely to occur but will cause more storm surge damage inland.
(2) The low-risk category refers to Category 5 hurricanes, which are not common along the northeastern Atlantic Coast.
(3) Storm surge risk in the low category for homes on the northeastern Atlantic Coast is not shown due to the extremely low probability of a Category 5 storm affecting these areas.
(4) Represents the cost to completely rebuild including labor and materials by geographic location.

Source: CoreLogic, Inc., a data and analytics company.

 
Top Three States By Inflation-Adjusted Insured Catastrophe Losses, 1987-2016 (1)

(2016 $ billions)

(1) Adjusted for inflation through 2016 by ISO using the GDP implicit price deflator. Excludes catastrophes causing direct losses less than $25  million in 1997 dollars. Excludes flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(2) Includes the other 47 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Source: The Property Claim Services® (PCS®) unit of ISO®, a Verisk Analytics® company.

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Top 10 States, By Population Change In Coastal Counties, 1960-2010

  By number change    By percent change 
Rank State Number change Rank State Percent change
1 California 13,130,000 1 Florida 270.1%
2 Florida 10,360,000 2 Alaska 239.8
3 Texas 3,732,000 3 New Hampshire 198.0
4 Washington 2,578,000 4 Texas 161.9
5 Virginia 1,903,000 5 Virginia 150.8
6 New York 1,400,000 6 Washington 144.4
7 New Jersey 1,275,000 7 South Carolina 125.1
8 Maryland 938,000 8 Hawaii 115.2
9 Massachusetts 826,000 9 North Carolina 114.4
10 Hawaii 728,000 10 California 107.2

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau (www.census.gov/dataviz/visualizations/039/508.php).

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  • The Atlantic Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the Hawaiian Islands are home to the U.S. counties most vulnerable to hurricanes. These counties accounted for nearly two-thirds of the nation’s coastline population in 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

 
Top Coastal Counties Most Frequently Hit By Hurricanes: 1960-2008

County  State Coastline region Number of
hurricanes
Percent change
in population,
1960-2008
Monroe County Florida Gulf of Mexico 15 50.8%
Lafourche Parish Louisiana Gulf of Mexico 14 67.2
Carteret County North Carolina Atlantic 14 104.3
Dare County North Carolina Atlantic 13 465.9
Hyde County North Carolina Atlantic 13 10.1
Jefferson Parish Louisiana Gulf of Mexico 12 108.9
Palm Beach County Florida Atlantic 12 454.7
Miami-Dade County Florida Atlantic 11 156.5
St. Bernard Parish Louisiana Gulf of Mexico 11 17.2
Cameron Parish Louisiana Gulf of Mexico 11 4.8
Terrebonne Parish Louisiana Gulf of Mexico  11 78.7

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Decennial Census of Population and Housing: 1960 to 2000; Population Estimates Program: 2008.

  • Of the 11 most hurricane-prone counties, five are in Louisiana, three are in Florida and two are in North Carolina.
  • 75.7 percent of the Florida population resides in coastal counties, compared with 32.3 percent in Louisiana, 9.9. percent in North Carolina and 47.7 percent for the total United States.

 
Top 10 Most Significant Flood Events By National Flood Insurance Program Payouts (1)

 

Rank Date Event Location Number of
paid losses
Amount paid
($ millions)
Average
paid loss
1 Aug. 2005 Hurricane Katrina AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, TN 166,789 $16,258 $97,475
2 Sep. 2017 Hurricane Harvey AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, TX 75,865 8,757 115,430
3 Oct. 2012 Superstorm Sandy CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH,
NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV
132,058 8,753 66,280
4 Sep. 2008 Hurricane Ike AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, OH, PA, TX 46,684 2,700 57,837
5 Aug. 2016 Louisiana severe storms
and flooding
LA 26,909 2,456 91,260
6 Sep. 2004 Hurricane Ivan AL, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NJ, NY,
NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV
28,153 1,607 57,098
7 Aug. 2011 Hurricane Irene CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH,
NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT
44,306 1,345 30,366
8 Jun. 2001 Tropical Storm Allison FL, LA, MS, NJ, PA, TX 30,671 1,105 36,028
9 Sep. 2017 Hurricane Irma FL, GA, SC 21,824 1,030 47,202
10 Oct. 2016 Hurricane Matthew FL, GA, NC, SC, VA 16,547 649 39,249

(1) Includes events from 1978 to July 31, 2018, as of October 5, 2018. Defined by the National Flood Insurance Program as an event that produces at least 1,500 paid losses. Stated in dollars when occurred.

Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency; U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Hurricane Center.

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Hurricane Sandy Fact File - October 2014