Decade of Destruction: The High Cost of Hurricanes
During the last 10 years, the Atlantic basin has seen a spike in hurricanes that have resulted in catastrophic destruction. This infographic explores the extent of damage within the United States as well as rescue and relief efforts.
The Past 10 Years (2004-2013)
The Atlantic basin hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30; it peaks from August to October.
- 15 of the 30 costliest hurricanes in US history have occurred in the last 10 years. Each of the 15 storms caused more than $1 billion in damages.
- More than $310 billion equals the total cost of hurricane damage for the last 10 years.
- 2,334 equals the total number of deaths from hurricanes during the last 10 years.
Number of Hurricanes per year:
||Number of Hurricanes (Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale 1 to 5)
||Major Hurricanes (Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale 3, 4, or 5)
Major Hurricane Timeline: 2004-2013
Damage in US Billions
- Frances ($8.9)
- Ivan ($14.2)
- Jeanne ($6.9)
- Ophelia ($1.6)
- Rita ($10)
- Gustav ($4.3)
- Ike ($29.5)
Katrina and Sandy by the Numbers
- Date - August 29, 2005
- Category - 3
- Deaths - 1,833 in the U.S.
- Damages - 1.2 million housing units; includes Hurricane Rita (Sept. 2005) and Wilma (Oct. 2005)
- Homes without power - 3 million in at least 8 states
- FEMA Assistance - 738,318 applications approved
- People Displaced - Up to 600,000 families homeless a month after the storm
- Employment Lost - 230,000 equals the estimated number of jobs permanently lost
- Insured losses - $71 billion equals the estimated total insured losses, including loss and damage claims paid by private insurance as well as flood damage covered by federal flood insurance
- Date - October 29, 2012
- Category - Post-tropical cyclone
- Deaths - 132 on the U.S. mainland; more than 200 in 7 countries
- Damages - NY: 305,000 housing units; NJ: 72,000 housing units; CT: 3,000 homes
- Homes without power - 8.51 million in 16 states and Washington, DC
- FEMA Assistance - 465,000 applications filed in NY and JN
- People displaced - More than 30,000 residents of NY and NJ displaced two months later
- Employment Lost - 11,000 equals the reduced number of workers in accommodations, food services, retail, amusements and performing arts, and transportation services
- Insured Losses - $10 to $20 billion equals the estimated losses insured by private companies
Relief and Recovery (2004-2013)
There are three key players in disaster recovery efforts: the federal government, nongovernmental organizations, and state and local governments. Following are examples of how each reacts to disasters.
FEMA; Federal Emergency Management Agency, created by an executive order signed by President Jimmy Carter on April 1, 1979.
Annual FEMA Spending (In US Billions)
- 2004 1 ($4.6)
- 2005 1 ($50.4)
- 2006 1($8.4)
- 2007 1 ($5.8)
- 2008 1($12.5)
- 2009 1 ($1.3)
- 2010 1 ($6.7)
- 2011 2 ($14)
- 2012 3 ($14)
- 2013 4 ($13.5)
FEMA and the Department of Defense provided the following:
- 20 million liters of water
- 16 million meals
- 300 power-restoration vehicles and accompanying personnel from as far away as California
- 138,000 tarps
- 100 infant and toddler kits
- 500 generators
- 1.7 million blankets
- 79,000 cots
- $2.2 billion equals the money raised by the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina – the most money ever raised for a U.S. natural disaster.
- 150,000 equals the estimated number of volunteers who have helped rebuilding efforts in New Orleans
- 5,400 equals the number of houses built, repaired, or rehabbed by Gulf Coast affiliated of Habitat for Humanity as part of the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita recovery efforts.
State and Local Governments
Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program:
Provides funds for projects to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings that are insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on an annual basis.
Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program:
- Provides funds for hazard mitigation planning and projects on an annual basis.
- Works to reduce overall risk to people and structures and reduce reliance on federal funding if an actual disaster were to occur.
Floodplain Management Program:
- Operates community-wide corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood damage, which include requirements for zoning, subdivision or building and special-purpose floodplain ordinances.
- More than 20,500 communities voluntarily adopt and enforce local floodplain management ordinances.
The Next 10 Years
According to weather.com, as of 2013, the 10 most vulnerable and overdue cities for a hurricane are the following: (also listed are anticipated damage expenses per capita)
- Naples, FL (pop. 20,115) = $50,266
- Key West, FL (pop. 25,057) = $42,459
- Savannah, GA (pop. 142,022) = $31,911
- Charleston, SC (pop. 125,583) = $31,040
- Tampa, FL (pop. 335,709) = $17,813
- Jacksonville, FL (pop. 836,507) = $8,983
- Mobile, AL (pop. 194,822) = $5,331
- Providence, RI (pop. 178,432) = $3,463
- Houston, TX (pop. 2.161 million) = $3,194
- Honolulu, HI (pop. 374,658) = N/A
When thinking about what can be done to curtail the expense of massive hurricanes, consider the following analysis from the Center for American Progress:
The Federal government invests only $1 in reducing disaster damages for every $6 it spends on disaster recovery. However, there is a 4-to-1 return on investments that reduce disaster damages. It is estimated that $1.1 billion in damages is prevented annually through the implementation of local flood ordinances.
- https://www.fema.gov/fiscal-year-2013-budget (DEAD LINK; Replacement Suggestion: https://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/budget/fema_fy2013_bib.pdf)
- http://weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/10-most-overdue-hurricane-cities-20030531 (DEAD LINK; REPLACEMENT Suggestion: https://weather.com/tv/shows/hurricane-week/news/vulnerable-and-overdue-hurricane-cities-20130717)
FEMA Disaster relief fund, annual appropriations (enacted appropriation and emergency supplemental funds↑
Enacted budget authority↑
Requested budget authority↑
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