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The 2017 And 2016 Hurricane Seasons

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from Colorado State University as updated in August 2017 called for the number of named storms and hurricanes to be above historical averages for the Atlantic Basin. A total of 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes are expected this season. The 30-year average as calculated by Colorado State University is 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 September 20, 2017, 13 tropical storms had formed in the Atlantic Basin, seven of which, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia and Maria, became hurricanes.

  • Arlene was a rare April storm which formed in the North Atlantic on April 20.
  • 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 Emily formed on July 31 in the Gulf of Mexico west of Tampa Bay, Florida and made landfall that day just west of Bradenton, Florida. Emily brought heavy rainfall to central Florida.
  • Franklin became a tropical storm on August 6 in the northwestern Caribbean and made landfall on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on August 7. Franklin became the first hurricane of the 2017 season on August 9 as it headed toward the eastern coast of Mexico and made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on August 10 on the eastern coast of Mexico, bringing torrential rain with flash flooding and mudslides. The hurricane weakened to a tropical storm and dissipated on the same day.
  • Gert formed on August 13 in the western Atlantic near Bermuda and became the season’s second hurricane on August 14. The storm turned northeastward and did not threaten land before dissipating on August 17.
  • Harvey became a tropical storm on August 17, moved through the Windward Islands in the Caribbean, weakened and fell apart on August 19 before returning as a tropical storm on August 23 in the Gulf of Mexico. By August 25 Harvey intensified to a category 4 hurricane and made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas as a category 4 storm.
  • Harvey was the first major hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. It was the first Category 4 hurricane to affect Texas since Hurricane Carla in 1961. The last time a hurricane made landfall in Texas was 2008 when Hurricane Ike, a category 2 storm, struck the state.
  • On August 26 Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm and moved slowly back into the Gulf of Mexico bringing unprecedented flooding rainfall to a large area of southeast Texas and threatened southwestern Louisiana and coastal Mississippi and Alabama.  Over the next few days about 50 inches of rain fell in portions of the Greater Houston area and the upper Texas coast, breaking previous rainfall records.
  • On August 30 Harvey made landfall west of Cameron, Louisiana as a tropical storm, continuing to bring rain to southeastern Texas and to southwestern Louisiana. Harvey was downgraded to a tropical depression later in the day. The storm turned northeastward into the Lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys.
  • About 70 deaths related to Hurricane Harvey have been reported to date in Texas. At least 22 people are missing.
  • CoreLogic estimates that the total insured loss from Harvey, including federal and private flood losses, is close to $10 billion.  See the III’s insurance blog, Terms and Conditions, for latest loss updates.
  • An analysis by CoreLogic estimates that about 200,000 homes in Texas were at risk of storm surge from Harvey, representing almost $40 billion in total reconstruction value. The Houston area accounted for about 60 percent of the homes affected and about 50 percent of the reconstruction value.
  • On August 31, tropical storm Irma became a hurricane in the eastern Atlantic. It became a major category 3 hurricane by the end of the day.
  • Irma became a Category 4 hurricane on September 4 and was upgraded to Category 5 on September 5. On September 6 Irma struck Barbuda, St. Martin and Anguilla and later the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Irma was downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane on September 8. It struck Cuba on September 9.
  • Hurricane Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key in the lower Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm on September 10. Irma headed northwest, impacting all of South Florida. Irma made a second landfall in Florida in Marco Island in southwest Florida as a Category 3 hurricane.
  • Irma continued on a northwest course and brought high storm surge to Naples and widespread damaging winds across most of Florida.  Irma was downgraded to a Category 2 storm late on September 10 and weakened to a tropical storm on September 11.
  • Irma weakened to a tropical depression late on September 11 and reached Alabama and Georgia by September 12. Rain impacted those states along with Tennessee, Mississippi and North and South Carolina.
  • Hurricane Irma is the most powerful hurricane to form in the Atlantic Ocean. Irma is the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
  • As of September 13, Karen Clark & Co. estimates that insured losses from Irma would be $18 billion in the United States, mainly Florida but also Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. See the III’s insurance blog, Terms and Conditions, for latest loss updates.  
  • Hurricane Jose, the tenth tropical storm of the 2017 hurricane season, became a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean on September 6. It was upgraded to Category 3 on September 7, becoming the third major hurricane of the 2017 hurricane season.
  • Jose was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane on September 8.  Hurricane Jose passed the northern Leeward Islands and northeast of Puerto Rico and continued northwest, weakening to a Category 2 storm on September 11.  Jose weakened and returned to tropical storm status.
  • By September 15 Jose strengthened to a Category 1 Hurricane.
  • By September 20 Jose was passing well east of New Jersey moving northward.   The storm will bring tropical storm winds to the east coast north to New England with 3 to 5 inches of rain.
  • Hurricane Katia formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico on September 6. Katia made landfall on September 8 on the eastern coast of Mexico as a Category 1 storm. It became a tropical storm on September 9 and dissipated later in the day.
  • Tropical storm Lee appeared in the eastern Atlantic on September 16. Lee weakened as it moved westward and weakened to a tropical depression on September 17 and was expected to dissipate on September 18.
  • Hurricane Maria formed as a tropical storm several hundred miles east of the Lesser Antilles on September 16. Maria became a hurricane on September 17.  By September 18 Maria had strengthened to a Category 5 storm and made landfall on Dominica in the Leeward Islands.
  • Maria passed over St. Croix in the Virgin Islands as an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm on September 20 and later made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Puerto Rico. Maria will move northwest toward the Dominican Republic.

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.

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 2015 insured loss
1 Sep. 18, 1926 Great Miami Hurricane 4 $119
2 Sep. 17, 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane 4 72
3 Sep. 17, 1947 Fort Lauderdale Hurricane 3 60
4 Aug. 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina 3 58
5 Sep. 9, 1965 Hurricane Betsy 4 53
6 Aug. 24, 1992 Hurricane Andrew 5 52
7 Sep. 10, 1960 Hurricane Donna 4 46
8 Sep. 21, 1938 The Great New England Hurricane 3 44
9 Sep. 9, 1900 Galveston Hurricane 4 44
10 Sep. 15, 1950 Hurricane Easy 2 28

(1) Modeled loss to property, contents and business interruption and additional living expenses for residential, mobile home, commercial and auto exposures as of end-2015. Losses include demand surge.

Source: AIR Worldwide Corporation.