Three 2017 hurricanes are now in the top five costliest hurricanes to hit the U.S., together causing $265 billion worth of damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Before adjusting for inflation, Harvey is tied with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina for the most expensive at $95 billion each. Maria is a close third costing $90 billion. Irma cost $50 billion, ranked fifth behind Hurricane Sandy in 2012, according to the NOAA report.
The costs were compiled by NOAA based off numerous agency and media reports, and include all costs that would not have been paid had the hurricanes not existed.
Each storm’s ranking does not necessarily reflect the strength of the storm. While 2017’s hurricanes each hit the U.S. as category 4 storms, Katrina was a grade lower and Sandy made landfall as a category 1.
Harvey’s destruction stemmed largely from flooding caused when the storm settled over South Texas. Harris County, where Houston is located, received 1 trillion gallons of water in a period of four days. About 25 miles east of Houston, gauges measured the 51.88 inches of rainfall, the most rainfall caused by any storm in the U.S., The Washington Post reports.
Irma was a massive storm, stretching more than 400 miles across and recording the highest sustained winds of any hurricane to land strike the U.S., 185 miles per hour. It wiped out power to about 16 million people.
Maria hit the Puerto Rico two weeks after Irma passed over the island. While Maria continued on to hit Florida, Puerto Rico received the worst of the storm, and is still recovering. Potentially more than a thousand people have died due to the storm, and the island’s infrastructure remains severely damaged. 20 percent of Puerto Ricans lack running water.
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