Hurricane Prep Week 2023: Ian Now the 3rd Costliest in U.S. History

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21 May 2023 5:00 PM

Top 5 Costliest Storms

#5 Sandy: In late October 2012 sandy made landfall as a post-tropical cyclone near Atlantis city, New Jersey. Similar to a category one hurricane, Sandy packed winds of 80 mph as it pushed ashore. The storm damaged over 650 thousand homes and left millions without power. Sandy’s storm surge flooded portions of New York city’s subway system, leaving several routes out of service for weeks. Adjusting cost to 2022 levels, the storm ranks as the fourth costliest in us history causing nearly 84 billion dollars ($83.9B) in damage.  

#4 Maria: As the strongest storm to strike Puerto Rico in nearly a century maria made landfall on the islands southern cost in September of 2017 with sustained wind speeds of 155 mph. Maria’s fierce winds, damaged structures island wide including an estimated 80 percent of all utility poles. The destruction left majority of residents without power or cell service for months after the storm. With nearly 109 billion dollars ($108.9B) in damage, maria is not only the costliest hurricane in both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but the fourth costliest in us history.  

#3 Ian: Ian became a hurricane in the Atlantic basin on September 23, 2022, undergoing rapid intensification and strengthening to a major hurricane before making its first landfall in western Cuba as a category 2 hurricane, knocking out power for the entire island. Ian strengthened to a low-end category 5 hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall as a Category 4 Hurricane on the island of Caya Costa near Fort Myers, Florida with winds of 150 mph and its second us landfall near Punta Gorda with 140 mph winds. Ian brought catastrophic storm surge of 10-15 feet and battering waves that washed homes off their foundations as Ian tore through Florida. Ian exited Florida's east coast, restrengthened over the Atlantic to a category 1, and made another us landfall near Georgetown county, South Carolina. Sadly, 150 people lost their lives as a result of hurricane Ian. In total, Ian is estimated to cost nearly 113 billion dollars in damage. 

#2 Harvey: Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast in August of 2017 as a powerful category four storm. Harvey’s strong winds and record setting rainfall changed south Texas forever.  

Over 60 inches of rain fell, making Harvey the wettest tropical system in united states history. Houston and surrounding areas were flooded for days as drenching rains continued well after landfall. The storm cost an estimated 151 billion dollars in damage making it the second costliest hurricane.  

#1 Katrina: As one of the most infamous hurricanes in history, Katrina's storm surge and powerful winds overwhelmed southern Louisiana and the central gulf coast region in august 2005. Katrina peaked in intensity as a monster category 5 storm with sustained winds of 175 mph. A category 3 at landfall, Katrina ushered in historic storm surge flooding and torrential rainfall. Over 1.2 million people were under evacuation orders, a testament to Katrina's size and strength. Katrina ended up taking many lives and causing 190 billion dollars in damage. The costliest hurricane in united states history. 

2022 Season Recap

Unlike the two previous super active seasons, from a number standpoint, the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season was relatively average, with 14 named storms, eight hurricanes, and two major hurricanes. But it ended up being the 6th most costly Atlantic hurricane and on record.

After starting on June 1, the season saw its first name storm with the formation of Tropical Storm Alex on June 5. It was the first time since 2014 the first storm of the season actually formed. After the season had officially begun. As it crossed Florida, Alex dropped torrential rains, causing flash flooding and doing around $100,000 in damages in the state.

Next up, tropical Storm Bonnie formed in the southern Caribbean Sea on July 1 and made landfall shortly thereafter near the Costa Rica Nicaragua border. Bonnie survived crossing over into the Pacific Basin The next day, becoming the first storm to do so since Hurricane Otto in 2016. In an unforecasted surprise, on July 1,a low pressure system near Savannah, Georgia suddenly organized into Tropical Storm Colin, a nonconsequential system that dissipated on the second day inland over northeastern South Carolina.

Then for almost two months, the Atlantic Basin was quiet. It was the first time since 1997 there were no new tropical storms in the month of August. It was the first time since 1997 there were no tropical storms in the month of August. Then on September 1, the basin reawakened with the formation of Tropical Storm Danielle over the Central Atlantic. When Danielle intensified into a hurricane the next day, it became the latest first hurricane of the season since 2013.Tropical Depression Nine formed the Caribbean Sea and Tropical Depression Ten formed the Eastern Tropical Atlantic. Since Tropical Depression Ten Attained tropical storm strength before TD Nine, it became Tropical Storm Hermine.

After Tropical Depression Nine became Hurricane Ian, it grew into one of the most destructive storms of the season, making landfall in western Cuba As a high end category 3 hurricane. Then Ian slammed southwestern Florida as a high end category four hurricane. And finally, after leaving Florida, Ian hit South Carolina as a CAT1.

Subtropical Storm Nicole formed on November 7, the next day, Nicole transitioned into a tropical cyclone. And on November 9, Nicole made landfall as a tropical storm at Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas with sustained winds of 70 mph. Only hours later, the storm strengthened to a CAT 1 hurricane while making landfall on Grand Bahama with sustained winds of 75 mph. On the 10th, Nicole made landfall in North Hutchinson Island, Florida with 75 miles per hour sustained winds. Despite being relatively weak, Nicole's huge size produced widespread heavy rainfall and a giant wind field across the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas and Florida. Several days of strong onshore winds and the east coast of several days of strong onshore winds on the east coast of Florida created severe beach erosion, in many cases finishing the destructive job that hurricane Ian had started.

In fact, Ian and Fiona were such impactful storms their names were retired by the World Meteorological Organization in March of 2023.

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