Dec 1, 2017

Disastrous 2017 Atlantic hurricane season ends, with hard-hit areas still reeling

by
Andrew Freedman
,
Mashable
A NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Irma as a Category 5 hurricane on Sept. 5, 2017. Image: NOAA
A NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Irma as a Category 5 hurricane on Sept. 5, 2017. Image: NOAA

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends on Thursday, will go down as one of the most expensive in American history. The notorious storms of 2017 — hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria — may have had innocuous names. However, they flooded America's fourth-largest metropolis, cut a swath of destruction across the Caribbean before hitting Florida, and cut off power to the entire island of Puerto Rico, respectively.

The costs of the storms that hit the U.S. are still being tallied, with some analysts claiming that it was the most expensive hurricane season on record. Steve Bowen, a meteorologist with the insurance company AonBenfield, said that his company's calculations show that direct damage and business interruption losses from 2017's many storms will put 2017 in second place, behind 2005, once adjusted for inflation.

It's possible that ranking will change, however. "There remains so much uncertainty with the three big storms (Harvey, Irma, Maria), and insurance claims continue to be filed and processed," Bowen said via Twitter message. 

"A big component to the direct damage losses remains business interruption, and especially in the case of Maria in Puerto Rico, those direct impacts remain ongoing," Bowen said.

"The 2017 season is going to end near the top on an economic and insured loss basis once all is said and done. Regardless of what metric is used to determine 2017's ranking... the season was extraordinarily costly and will be used as one of the benchmark years against which future seasons are compared," Bowen said.