Disastrous US Hurricanes Since 2000. Could Harvey Top Them?

Lynn Dixon places sandbags outside their home decor store in Galveston, Texas as Hurricane Harvey intensifies in the Gulf of Mexico Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Conditions were deteriorating along Texas’s Gulf Coast on Friday as Hurricane Harvey strengthened and slowly moved toward the state, with forecasters warning that evacuations and preparations “should be rushed to completion.” Photo: AP Photo/David J. Phillip.

Hurricane Harvey could be on par with 2005′s Hurricane Katrina in terms of economic impact, according to University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

“The Houston area and Corpus Christi are going to be a mess for a long time,” he said Friday.

Some of the most damaging hurricanes to hit the U.S. since 2000. Figures have not been adjusted for inflation:



Katrina crossed the tip of Florida and then swept into the Gulf of Mexico and over Louisiana and Mississippi, causing more than 1,800 deaths and an estimated $108 billion in damage and becoming the costliest storm in U.S. history, according to the National Hurricane Center. Most of the fatalities occurred in Louisiana, where thousands of homes and businesses in New Orleans were destroyed by strong winds and flooding. Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and Alabama also reported deaths in the 2005 hurricane, which left about 3 million people without power, some for weeks at a time.



The pounding winds and storm surges of Sandy, dubbed a “superstorm” since it was extratropical by the time it made landfall, devastated the coastlines of New York and New Jersey in late October 2012, damaging at least 650,000 homes and causing about 8.5 million power outages, according to the Hurricane Center. U.S. officials preliminarily tallied at least $50 billion in damage, though some sources cite around $75 billion. There were at least 147 deaths directly tied to storm conditions, as well as a number of indirect fatalities linked to hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning and falling trees during the cleanup effort, the center said. Repairs to homes and infrastructure continue today.



Ike’s storm surges raised water levels across nearly the entire U.S. Gulf Coast when it hit in 2008, causing almost $30 billion in damage, mostly in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. At least 20 people were killed, according to the Hurricane Center. Waves battered the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, and almost 3 million people in those state lost power. Winds uprooted trees, and a number of homes were damaged.



Coming near the end of 2005′s extraordinary season, Wilma caused 98 percent of South Florida to lose electricity, with experts at the Hurricane Center attributing widespread damage in the state to its large core. Trees were downed, windows shattered, roofs torn up and crops lost. All told, the U.S. reported more than $21 billion in damage, as well as five deaths.



Ivan’s 10- to 15-foot storm surge in 2004 caused as much as a quarter-mile of an interstate bridge to collapse in Florida, which along with Alabama was among the hardest-hit states, according to the Hurricane Center. Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. Debris piled up after the storm stretched for more than three-quarters of a mile and were as tall as seven stories. Almost 2 million people experienced power outages. Ivan killed 25 people and caused more than $18 billion in damage, according to the center.


FILE – In this Oct. 26, 2005, file photo, members of the Louisiana Recovery Authority tour New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, largely destroyed when the levee broke at the Industrial Canal during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, in New Orleans. According to University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017 could be on par with 2005′s Hurricane Katrina, the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, even among other devastating hurricanes that have hit the U.S. since 2000. Photo: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File.


Rita, one of the strongest hurricanes of the record-breaking 2005 season, prompted one of the largest-scale evacuations in U.S. history, with more than 2 million people estimated to have fled the Texas coast, according to the Hurricane Center. Coming just weeks after Katrina, Rita’s wind and rain caused $12 billion in damage and killed 62 people, including many nursing home residents whose bus caught fire as they fled the storm, the center said. Nearly every structure in some coastal areas of southwestern Louisiana was destroyed, some entirely swept away.