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.

 
2019 Hurricane Season Outlook

Dr. Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University (CSU), and his team have predicted that the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season will produce near-average activity, as the odds of a weak El Nino persisting through August through October have diminished but vertical wind shear in the Caribbean remains relatively high. The August report, revised after Hurricane Barry, anticipates 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, including Hurricane Barry, and two major hurricanes in 2019. A typical year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

 
2019 Hurricane Season

Barry became a tropical storm on July 11 in the Gulf of Mexico and strengthened to Category 1 hurricane status on July 13 as it moved toward the Louisiana coast. It made landfall later that day near Intracoastal City, Louisiana as a tropical storm. Barry brought heavy rain and wind to the north central Gulf coast, and remained over Louisiana as it weakened into a tropical depression on July 14. Other areas impacted were the Mississippi River Valley and the southeastern states of Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. Catastrophe modeling companies estimated that private flood and wind insured losses would total between $300 and $600 million.

Dorian became a tropical storm on August 24 and strengthened to hurricane status on August 28 near St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. By August 30, Dorian had strengthened to a Category 4 storm and became an historic Category 5 storm on September 1 as it made landfall over the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas and later on Grand Bahama Island. Dorian continued to pound the Bahamas into September 3 with devastating wind, rain and storm surge. Catastrophes modelers estimate industry insured losses resulting from Hurricane Dorian in the Caribbean will be between $1.5 billion and $6.5 billion, including reinsurance and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) losses.

Dorian weakened to Category 3 and moved close to the Florida east coast by September 4 bringing storm surge resulting in beach erosion and flooding, and later affected South and North Carolina. On September 6, Dorian weakened to a Category 1 storm and made landfall at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina bringing wind, storm surge and flooding to North Carolina and Virginia on its way to New England. Dorian made landfall over Nova Scotia on September 7 as a Category 1 hurricane. Catastrophe modelers estimate industry insured losses in the United States from Dorian to total between $500 million and $1.6 billion, including reinsurance and NFIP losses.

Humberto formed near the northwestern Bahamas and became a tropical storm on September 14 and became a hurricane on September 15 southwest of Bermuda and peaked at Category 3 as it approached the island on September 16. Humberto become post-tropical by September 20 and produced large swells along the east coast of the United States causing dangerous rip tides. Hurricane Jerry formed around the same time, becoming a hurricane on September 19. Tropical storm Imelda brought an estimated 16 to 24 inches of rain to Beaumont and Houston, Texas and heavy rain over a large section between southwestern Louisiana and Texas by September 20.

 
2018 Hurricane Season

During the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season 15 named storms formed. Eight of those storms became hurricanes and two of those, Florence and Michael, became major storms, Category 3 and above. Florence, the third hurricane of the season reached Category 4 status as a slow-moving storm that brought hurricane-force winds, life-threatening storm surge, and freshwater flooding.  Florence made landfall along the southeastern coast of North Carolina as a strong Category 1 storm and brought significant storm surge flooding to portions of eastern North Carolina. It produced rainfall that exceeded 20 inches along the North and South Carolina border, and in some parts of North Carolina exceeded 30 inches, a state record. The previous record was 24 inches caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. In South Carolina, a new record was reached when rains reached almost 24 inches.  Florence caused 22 direct deaths in the United States, including 15 in North Carolina, 4 in South Carolina and 3 in Virginia, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Catastrophe modelers have estimated that insured losses from Hurricane Florence would range from $2.0 billion to $5.5 billion, excluding National Insurance Flood Program losses.

Hurricane Michael became a strong Category 5 storm on October 10 and made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, in the Florida Panhandle. Hurricane Michael was the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Florida Panhandle and the second known category 5 landfall on the northern Gulf Coast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmostpheric Administration. It was the first Category 5 storm to make landfall in the United States, after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Michael caused 16 deaths in the United States: seven in Florida, five in Virginia, three in North Carolina and one in Georgia. Catastrophe modelers estimated that insured losses from Hurricane Michael could range from $6 billion to $11 billion. As of July 26, 2019, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulations reported that insured losses from Michael in Florida had reached $6.91 billion, comprised of residential and commercial property, private flood and business interruption insurance, and miscellaneous coverages. There were 148,347 claims made through July 26 with 86 percent of those claims closed. Over 20,000 claims remained open.

 
2017 Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season of 2017 broke several records, as 17 tropical storms formed, with 10 of these becoming 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. 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. With at least 68 direct deaths reported in Texas, Harvey was the deadliest U.S. hurricane since superstorm 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. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that insured losses from Hurricane Harvey will total between $18 billion and $20 billion in dollars when it occurred, making it the fourth costliest hurricane to hit the United States, excluding flood damage covered by the federally administered National Insurance Flood Program (NFIP).

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Lower Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane on September 10, and a second landfall in Florida on Marco Island as a Category 3 hurricane. Hurricane Irma was one of the most powerful and costliest hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin, 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. According to NOAA 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 November 14, 2018 about 1,002,800 claims were filed in the state from Irma, resulting in $11.1 billion in insured losses. Loss estimates are not yet available from the Property Claims Services (PCS) unit of ISO. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that insured losses from Hurricane Irma will be between $20 billion and $24 billion in dollars when it occurred. This would place Irma as the third costliest hurricane to hit the United States, excluding flood damage covered by the federally administered NFIP.

Maria became a Category 5 hurricane on September 18 and 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 and up to 37 inches of rain, 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. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that insured losses from Hurricane Maria will reach between $25 billion and $30 billion in dollars when it occurred. Hurricane Maria was the second costliest hurricane to hit the United States, excluding flood damage covered by the federally administered NFIP, and was surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina, which caused about $52 billion in insured losses in 2018 dollars.

 
Costliest U.S. Hurricanes

The chart below shows insured losses for the top 10 costliest hurricanes in the United States in dollars when they occurred and in 2018 dollars, adjusted for inflation. Insured losses for the catastrophic hurricanes of 2017—Maria, Irma and Harvey—are represented as a range because factors such as the severity of the losses and the fact that the storms happened in rapid succession, straining resources for the claim settlement process, have hindered the development of final estimates. The amount of insured losses for Irma in Florida are still to be determined; claims have been reopened, and business interruption losses for all three storms are still being settled. The Insurance Information Institute has developed the ranges after studying estimates from catastrophe modelers and other organizations. To date, losses for 2018 Hurricanes Florence and Michael are still preliminary and have not been included in this chart.

 
Top 10 Costliest Hurricanes In The United States (1)

($ millions)

        Estimated insured loss
Rank Date Location Hurricane Dollars when occurred In 2018 dollars (2)
1 Aug. 25-30, 2005 AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, TN Hurricane Katrina $41,100 $51,882
2 Sep. 19-22, 2017 PR, USVI Hurrican Maria (3) 25,000-30,000 25,600-30,700
3 Sep. 6-12, 2017 AL, FL, GA, NC, PR, SC, UV Hurricane Irma (3) 20,000-25,000 20,400-25,600
4 Aug. 25-Sep. 1, 2017 AL, LA, MS, NC, TN, TX Hurricane Harvey (3) 18,000-20,000 18,400-20,400
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 20,688
6 Aug. 24-26, 1992 FL, LA Hurricane Andrew 15,500 25,404
7 Sep. 12-14, 2008 AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, OH, PA, TX Hurricane Ike 12,500 14,631
8 Oct. 24, 2005 FL Hurricane Wilma 10,300 13,002
9 Aug. 13-14, 2004 FL, NC, SC Hurricane Charley 7,475 9,729
10 Sep. 15-21, 2004 AL, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC,
NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV
Hurricane Ivan 7,110 9,254

(1) Property losses only. Excludes flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program. Ranked on dollars when occurred. As of August 8, 2019.
(2) Adjusted for inflation through 2018 by the Insurance Information Institute using the GDP implicit price deflator.
(3) Insurance Information Institute estimate based on data from catastrophe risk modelers, reinsurance companies, the Property Claims Services unit of Verisk Analytics, the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. These estimates are preliminary because the organizations involved periodically resurvey the events, and the severity of losses and other factors create a high level of uncertainty surrounding the ultimate loss figures.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, catastrophe risk modelers, reinsurance companies, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation,
the Property Claim Services® (PCS®) unit of ISO®, a Verisk Analytics® company, and the 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, 1999-2018

 

Year Total
hurricanes (1)
Made landfall
as hurricane
in the U.S.
Deaths (2)
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
2018 8 2 48

(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 Single-Family Homes and Reconstruction Value, 2019 (1)

 

    Number of single-family homes at risk by storm category
Rank State Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4 Category 5
1 Florida  358,902 1,085,288 1,788,071 2,338,348 2,830,201
2 Louisiana  74,792 213,442 637,354 765,612 839,321
3 Texas  40,633 121,010 259,993 393,837 555,569
4 New Jersey  94,083 276,872 381,551 471,143 (2)
5 New York  76,797 227,962 351,783 467,398 (2)
6 Virginia  23,321 89,387 243,401 365,134 409,259
7 South Carolina  37,155 130,565 216,551 304,442 359,024
8 North Carolina  33,200 97,158 163,632 213,922 264,264
9 Massachusetts  9,310 45,042 101,171 157,311 (2)
10 Georgia  9,863 54,777 112,747 151,627 163,191
11 Maryland  16,473 58,141 96,774 124,684 (2)
12 Mississippi  9,005 29,381 60,167 90,360 102,199
13 Pennsylvania  924 21,406 58,659 85,480 (2)
14 Connecticut  6,874 29,194 47,292 68,022 (2)
15 Alabama  5,777 15,596 29,234 41,164 54,586
16 Delaware  11,027 31,329 49,517 67,320 (2)
17 Rhode Island  1,391 7,423 16,513 25,354 (2)
18 Maine  5,846 8,300 12,336 18,824 (2)
19 New Hampshire  186 3,999 7,069 9,315 (2)
  Total homes potentially affected 815,559 2,546,272 4,633,815 6,158,577 7,071,745
    Reconstruction cost value of single-family homes at risk (3) ($ millions)
Rank State Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4 Category 5
1 Florida $73,255.3 $225,758.2 $372,102.5 $482,986.8 $581,641.5
2 New York  30,075.0 94,513.9 145,839.3 194,358.1 (2)
3 Louisiana  16,343.1 47,945.9 151,667.9 182,479.3 200,785.2
4 New Jersey  27,035.0 84,599.0 119,106.5 149,676.0 (2)
5 Texas  7,399.5 22,434.1 50,758.8 80,141.0 112,087.7
6 Virginia  6,046.8 22,878.8 58,270.3 87,017.7 98,744.9
7 South Carolina  10,377.6 34,543.8 54,837.2 74,049.4 85,214.8
8 North Carolina  7,094.4 20,928.6 35,570.1 46,843.7 57,973.4
9 Massachusetts  2,381.6 12,625.7 28,897.8 46,442.6 (2)
10 Georgia  2,980.9 14,662.9 27,079.1 35,130.6 37,325.4
11 Maryland  4,046.8 13,834.2 23,084.4 29,768.4 (2)
12 Connecticut  2,429.5 9,913.0 15,895.6 22,659.2 (2)
13 Mississippi  1,947.1 6,186.9 12,375.8 18,241.7 20,554.7
14 Pennsylvania  214.4 5,013.7 14,187.6 20,823.0 (2)
15 Delaware  3,159.6 8,797.1 14,026.2 19,121.3 (2)
16 Alabama  1,143.4 2,917.3 5,387.9 7,534.0 9,888.1
17 Rhode Island  351.3 2,039.2 4,669.2 7,321.1 (2)
18 Maine  1,294.4 1,970.7 3,031.9 4,738.2 (2)
19 New Hampshire  33.9 693.9 1,395.2 1,988.6 (2)
  Total homes potentially affected $197,609.5 $632,257.0 $1,138,183.1 $1,511,320.6 $1,701,112.2

(1) The risk categories are cumulative and increase in value from Category 1 to Category 5. Category 1 represents the higher risk of damage from a weak hurricane; Category 5 includes Categories 1 to 4 and the low risk of damage from a Category 5 hurricane.
(2) Storm surge risk for Category 5 storms for homes on the northeastern Atlantic Coast is not shown due to the extremely low probability of a Category 5 storm affecting these areas.
(3) Represents the cost to completely rebuild including labor and materials by geographic location.

Source: CoreLogic, Inc., a data and 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 166,790 $16,258 $97,474
2 Sep. 2017 Hurricane Harvey AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, TX 76,257 8,909 116,823
3 Oct. 2012 Superstorm Sandy CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH,
NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV
132,360 8,804 66,517
4 Sep. 2008 Hurricane Ike AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, OH, PA, TX 46,701 2,702 57,866
5 Aug. 2016 Louisiana severe storms
and flooding
LA 26,976 2,468 91,507
6 Sep. 2004 Hurricane Ivan AL, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NJ, NY,
NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV
28,154 1,608 57,097
7 Aug. 2011 Hurricane Irene CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH,
NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT
44,314 1,346 30,369
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 21,920 1,054 48,095
10 Oct. 2016 Hurricane Matthew FL, GA, NC, SC, VA 16,586 654 39,455

(1) Includes events from 1978 to January 31, 2019 as of March 21, 2019. 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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