Top 10 Costliest U.S. Hurricanes Ever – Experts Say Hurricane Irma Has Potential To Be Most Expensive
Hurricane Irma has obliterated numerous islands in the Caribbean as seen in these photos and videos. The once Category 5 storm pummeled Antigua, Barbuda, U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Martin, the Bahamas and Cuba where the fierce hurricane destroyed much of the infrastructure and buildings. Early estimates are that Hurricane Irma caused approximately $10 billion in damages, making it the most expensive storm in the Caribbean’s history according to Germany-based disaster risk assessor Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology. With the direct hit with Florida coming this weekend, Hurricane Irma has the potential to be the costliest U.S. hurricane of all-time.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has warned all of the state’s residents to be “prepared to evacuate.” With approximately 6.3 million people in Florida fleeing for their lives, this is one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history. Another 540,000 people in Georgia were ordered to evacuate and tens of thousands in South Carolina were asked to leave coastal regions despite Hurricane Irma being hundreds of miles away. With the potential of Hurricane Irma buzzsawing the state of Florida and then shooting up into inland Georgia, possibly as far north as Atlanta, it could lead to unheard-of devastation. Many of these places are not prepared for a hurricane, let alone a historically dangerous hurricane of this magnitude with powerful wind and rains. These worrying factors have prompted experts to believe that Hurricane Irma could be the most expensive hurricane ever.
Barclays’ Jay Gelb said insurance companies could be paying $130 billion in claims related to Hurricane Irma. “Given the potential magnitude of this storm as well as the potential to impact a highly populated area, we think Irma’s insured damage in Florida could be the largest ever in the U.S., perhaps equivalent to Hurricane Katrina,” Gelb wrote.
Since 1990, the population of Central and South Florida has added over 6 million people. More people, more housing, more cars, more devastation. With the increased population, the insurance firm Swiss Re calculate that Irma could cause up to $100 billion in damage. Irma’s storm surge could top 12 feet in low-lying areas of the Florida coast and cause mass destruction. The population of Miami-Dade County has grown by nearly 35 percent since Hurricane Andrew according to the 2016 U.S. Census, making it the eighth-most-populous and fourth-largest urban area in the United States.