On the afternoon of Sept. 28, Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm. Winds reached 150mph, just a few miles shy of a Category 5 classification. Only four Category 5 hurricanes have ever hit the U.S., the most recent one being Hurricane Michael in 2018.
By the following morning, at least 2.5 million households in Florida had lost power. Storm surges caused life-threatening floods throughout West and Central Florida, the hurricane destroyed roads, bridges, and houses, and excessive rains caused inland rivers to break record flood levels. Ian continued to move up the Atlantic Coast before making landfall again, this time as a Category 1 storm, in South Carolina.
A single hurricane can cause billions of dollars in damage, not to mention the physical and emotional toll it takes on those in its path. Over the past five years, hurricanes Laura, Ida, Harvey, Irma, and Maria have caused extensive damage and death tolls. The full impact of Ian will come into sharper focus in the coming days and weeks.
Hurricane recovery plans include everything from the basic distribution of food and water supplies to rebuilding highways, energy grid improvements, and far-reaching infrastructure upgrades. Recovering after extensive hurricane damage can take years and can sometimes be sidetracked by additional storms.
2022’s Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts roughly from June 1 to Nov. 30, has been quieter than meteorologists predicted. Before Ian, three other hurricanes formed, two of which dissolved before landfall. Hurricane Fiona, a storm that first made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sep. 18 as Category 1 and wrought damage across the Caribbean as it strengthened, was the season’s first major hurricane. Still, the span between August and September represents just part of the peak range for Atlantic hurricanes, with October’s forecast not yet clear.
Stacker took a look at NOAA data to extrapolate the costliest hurricanes of all time. In this gallery, you’ll find the category of the storm, the year it occurred, and how much damage it caused. Tropical storms, defined as cyclones with winds less than 74 mph, are not included in the analysis. The data includes hurricanes that impacted Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the cost listed is in current U.S. dollars which have been adjusted for inflation. This data also addresses the cost of these hurricanes to the U.S. (and its territories), not to other countries or regions. More information on the methodology can be found at the National Hurricane Center.
Read on for the costliest hurricanes of all time.
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