The Latest Hurricane Statistics for 2020 (US)

In this article, we discuss major hurricane statistics, including death tolls, material damages, how they form, and their impact on insurance coverage.

Over the course of human history, hundreds of tropical storms have affected countries throughout the world, leading to billions of dollars’ worth of damages, alongside tens of thousands of deaths, as pointed out by hurricane statistics.

Hurricanes represent tropical storms that occur in the western Atlantic and generally entail wind speeds of over 74 miles per hour. Depending on where they occur, hurricanes are referred to by different names, such as cyclones or typhoons. Generally, this natural event is accompanied by lightning, rain, and thunder. While hurricanes are quite harmless when taking place on the ocean, they can lead to considerable material damages and loss of life when they hit heavily populated coastlines. From a meteorological standpoint, small and major hurricanes are storm systems that rotate rapidly and are characterized by a center with low pressure, a spiral arrangement of the storm, and low circulation from an atmospheric standpoint.

The purpose of this article is to shed some more light on the particularities of these storms by analyzing crucial stats and delving a bit deeper into the hows and whys. 

To learn more about hurricanes and their prevalence in the US, just keep on reading.

Top 5 Hurricane Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • During the 2019 hurricane season, a total of 18 named storms occurred — however, only 6 of these storms were considered hurricanes.
  • Monroe County, Florida, stands for the area that is most likely to be hit by a hurricane in the US.
  • According to the National Hurricane Center, the recent Hurricane Harvey caused approximately $125 billion in damages.
  • Estimates show that 1,836 fatalities were recorded as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
  • The Great Galveston Hurricane in Texas caused 8,000 fatalities.

Number of Hurricanes by Year in the US    

  1. In the US, hurricane season is generally considered between June and November, although such storms can occur in other months as well

According to the Insurance Information Institute and research published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, hurricanes are most likely to occur during the month of September. However, this does not mean that the worst possible storms are going to happen during this month in particular, according to hurricane statistics.

Source: III

  1. To be considered a hurricane, a storm must be characterized by low pressure and rotation with the incidence of organized thunderstorms

In the US, according to the Saffir-Simpson wind scale for hurricanes, such a storm must have a wind speed of at least 74 miles per hour to be categorized as a class I hurricane. These particularities are applicable for international typhoons and cyclones, but also for US hurricanes. 

Source: III

  1. During the 2019 hurricane season, a total of 18 named storms occurred — however, only 6 of these storms fulfilled the hurricane conditions

The meteorological analysis shows that only 3 (out of 6 hurricanes) were classed as large hurricanes (category 3 and beyond).

Source: III

  1. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an average of 17.7 hurricanes occur per decade

This hurricane statistic is based on the meteorological analysis carried out between 1851 and 2004 and shows that approximately 17.7 hurricanes occur per decade in the US. The same report also indicates that 273 hurricanes have occurred during the said time-frame. 

Source: NOAA

  1. Analysis reveals an average of 6 large hurricanes occurring every decade

When describing big tropical storms, most reports refer to category 3 hurricanes and beyond. The same report indicates that 92 hurricanes have occurred during this timeframe. 

Source: NOAA

  1. According to data from the US Search and Rescue Task Force, approximately 6 hurricanes form over the sea each year in the US

It is also worth noting that many of these storms never hit US soil. In fact, approximately 5 hurricanes strike the US every 3 years. Therefore, we are dealing with roughly 1–2 — if we look at hurricanes by year stats — that actually hit the US coastline.

Source: USSARTF

  1. Monroe County, Florida, stands for the area that is most likely to be hit by a hurricane in the US

Between 1960 and 2008, estimates show that a total of 15 hurricanes occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, affecting Monroe County in the process.

Source: III

  1. Other coastal counties that are often hit by hurricanes include Lafourche Parish (Louisiana), Carteret (North Carolina), Dare (North Carolina), Hyde (North Carolina), and Jefferson Parish (Louisiana), according to the history of hurricanes

Meteorological research has shown that roughly 12–14 hurricanes have affected these areas between 1960 and 2008. As a result, it looks like Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina are most likely to be affected by these severe storms. What’s more, there was a significant change in the number of people residing in these areas as many decided to move to safer regions. 

Source: III

Recent US Hurricane History Overview

Over the last few years, the US has been hit by a series of hurricanes that have caused significant material damage, alongside the heavy loss of life and numerous personal injuries. In this section, we will explore all the recent hurricanes in the US. The main aspects that we will be considering include material damages, death tolls, and other interesting facts concerning these wind hazards.

Hurricane Wilma Statistics

  1. Hurricane Wilma has apparently provoked material damages worth $29 billion in Florida

Hurricane Wilma affected the public infrastructure, caused flooding, but also damaged crops such as citrus and sugar cane. Reports also indicate that this hurricane caused $7.5 billion in damages in Mexico, prior to spreading to the coast of Florida. Hence, we can conclude that from a long-term perspective, the Florida hurricane damage ranks among the highest in the country. 

Source: Hurricane Science

  1. A total of 23 fatalities were recorded as a result of Hurricane Wilma 

6 of these deaths took place in Florida, whereas around 11 fatalities were recorded in Haiti, due to a series of mudslides. 

Source: Hurricane Science

  1. Roughly 6 million people in Florida had to live without electricity for 8 to 15 days, according to statistics

Consequently, the quality of life decreased dramatically after this hurricane. The economy, in particular, was affected; a lack of electricity entails that most industries can no longer operate as designed. 

Source: Hurricane Science

Hurricane Harvey Statistics 

  1. Meteorological reports indicate that 70% of the Harris County was covered in at least a foot and a half of water, following Hurricane Harvey

This represents one of the biggest floods to ever affect the US, especially when you consider the 1,800 square miles of the county in question. Similarly, reports indicate that the Houston rose by roughly 2 centimeters, due to the extra water. As such, this goes down as one of the major hurricanes in the US.

Source: NVOAD

  1. According to the National Hurricane Center, it seems that Harvey caused approximately $125 billion in damages

Based on this, hurricane Harvey takes second place in terms of the most expensive hurricanes to ever hit US soil. The severe storm damaged not only houses and businesses but also the power grid, leading to a complete stop of gas and oil production in the affected region. This is especially scary considering that Harvey is one of the most recent hurricanes. 

Source: NVOAD

  1. Reports indicate that 13 million people were affected by this tropical storm, whereas at least 88 fatalities were recorded

Most of these fatalities were recorded in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Additionally, over 738,000 people requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

What’s more, numerous people found it difficult to purchase food and water, whereas others required medical assistance in the aftermath of the hurricane, making this event one of the worst in the hurricane season. 

Source: NVOAD

  1. Hurricane Harvey destroyed and damaged over 204,000 homes, whereas 39,000 people were forced to abandon their houses due to flooding

Flooding was one of the main causes of damage inflicted to 204,000 homes during the said hurricane. Significant debris was also reported — some estimates point towards 200 million cubic yards. Therefore, the clean-up process required considerable funding. 

Source: NVOAD

Hurricane Irma Stats

  1. According to meteorologists, Hurricane Irma represents the most powerful storm to ever occur on the Atlantic Ocean

With wind speeds of over 185 mph and raging for over 37 hours, it is no wonder that Irma was considered one of the worst hurricanes to ever occur on the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, we simply must include this tropical storm in our list of hurricanes by year.

Source: The Balance 

  1. 129 people were killed because of Hurricane Irma, according to official reports

On the other hand, hundreds of people were injured, leading to overcrowding in local hospitals. Additionally, estimates show that 6.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate by the local authorities. Still, not all of these individuals were evacuated — hence why the casualty rates, as well as the number of severely injured people, were so high, according to hurricane Irma statistics. 

Source: The Balance 

  1. Hurricane Irma led to costs of up to $50 billion

Do keep in mind that this rate has been adjusted for inflation. An interesting study points out that had it struck Miami, the total damage would have been over $300 billion. Similarly, the number of deaths would have likely been in the thousands, according to analysts. 

Source: The Balance

Hurricane Katrina Statistics

  1. Katrina represents the third-strongest hurricane in terms of wind speeds to affect US soil

As a category 5 hurricane, meteorologists indicated that wind speeds as high as 175 miles per hour were recorded. An interesting trivia — Katrina was originally believed to be a category 3 hurricane. 

Source: Do Something

  1. An estimated 1,836 fatalities were recorded as a result of Hurricane Katrina, according to hurricane death toll statistics

What’s more, thousands of injuries were also reported; it is believed that over 50% of the victims were senior citizens. In addition, some 705 people are still missing and are presumed dead, despite their bodies never being found. 

Source: Do Something

  1. Over 15 million people have been directly affected by this hurricane in an area of around 90,000 square miles  

Thankfully, hurricanes in 2018 and the most recent years have been less severe when compared to Katrina. As such, it comes as no great surprise that Katrina led to over $81 billion in property damages. As we will see later on, Katrina has led to damages totaling over $150 billion, making it the most expensive hurricane to ever affect the US to date. 

Source: Do Something

Hurricane Florence Statistics

  1. Reports indicate that Hurricane Florence had 51 fatalities in total

Likewise, hundreds of injuries were also reported. Surprisingly, many of these deaths were caused by flooding. 

Source: World Vision

  1. Hurricane Florence is generally referred to as the wettest tropical storm to hit North Carolina

With over 3 feet of rainfall in some areas, this description definitely makes sense, which wasn’t the case with some other past hurricanes. An interesting report also shows that a significant portion of the flooding was caused by dams in North Carolina not functioning properly. 

Source: World Vision

  1. It is believed that over 20,000 people have been affected by this hurricane, many of whom required assistance from the government and NGOs

This happened despite the fact that a state of emergency was signaled in several regions, including South Carolina, Washington (D.C.), Georgia, and Virginia. 

Source: World Vision

Hurricane Maria Statistics

  1. Seven months after the hurricane, 62,000 people still lacked electricity due to the massive impact Hurricane Maria had on the power grid

However, it’s worth pointing out that during this time-frame 96% of Puerto Rico residents had their electricity restored. 

Source: World Vision

  1. 64 was the death toll of Hurricane Maria as reports indicate

An interesting study by Harvard reveals that this hurricane was indirectly responsible for some 4,600 fatalities. This study is based on the aftermath of the storm, and other hurricane statistics by year. 

Source: World Vision

  1. According to Puerto Rican authorities, Hurricane Maria led to $96 billion in damages

This huge sum makes sense given the fact that most, if not all of the island’s inhabitants, have been affected by the tropical storm. As such, a huge rescue and rebuilding operation was required in an effort to ensure that Puerto Rico remains a habitable island. 

Source: World Vision

Hurricane Matthew Statistics

  1. Reports indicate that this storm reached speeds as high as 145 mph

This makes it a category 4 hurricane, so it is not as severe as some of the other storms mentioned thus far. Despite this, it still had a significant impact. In fact, it was referred to as the biggest humanitarian emergency in Haiti, following the 2010 earthquake, due to material damages and the hurricane death toll. 

Source: World Vision

  1. UN estimates show that over 2.1 million people were directly affected by this hurricane and its aftermath

Additionally, over 1.4 million people requested humanitarian assistance, as they were left without food, water, or shelter. 

Source: World Vision

  1. It is estimated that this hurricane caused 546 deaths and over $1.9 billion in material damages

Based on this, it is the worst hurricane to ever hit Haiti, as well as one of the most severe hurricanes in terms of the overall death toll worldwide. 

Source: World Vision

Hurricane Dorian Statistics

  1. Hurricane Dorian had wind speeds of up to 185 miles per hour, thus making it a category 5 storm

Reports indicate that it is the first storm to hit the Grand Bahama island and also the worst hurricane to ever affect the Abaco island. 

Source: USA Today

  1. Over 70 people have been officially reported as dead in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian

Luckily, the average number of hurricanes per year that are of this magnitude is very low. Unfortunately, estimates indicate that 282 people were reported as missing and never found, despite significant search efforts. 

Source: USA Today

  1. From a monetary perspective, the total damage caused by the hurricane exceeded $3.4 billion

Insurance companies also had to cover numerous reimbursements. In fact, reports indicate that insured losses were well over $1 billion. 

Source: USA Today

Hurricane Michael Statistics

  1. The total damage of Hurricane Michael is over $25 billion

This makes sense given the fact that this hurricane drastically affected businesses, homes, alongside the public infrastructure. An interesting fact worth keeping in mind is that when it occurred, not many people expected Michael to transform into a category 5 hurricane. This is the main reason as to why the overall Hurricane Michael damage cost also came as a surprise. 

Source: Team Complete 

  1. The highest reported wind speed for this hurricane was 160 miles per hour

This wind speed was sustained for at least a minute, prior to a rapid decrease in intensity. Overall, the 160 mph threshold means that Michael was indeed a category 5 storm. 

Source: Team Complete 

  1. Official reports indicate that a total of 31 direct fatalities were the result of Hurricane Michael

Unfortunately, it is believed that 43 additional deaths are also indirectly associated with this storm, which took place in 2018. 

Source: Team Complete

Worst Major Hurricanes in the Last 10 Years — By Property Damage

  1. Here is a list highlighting the most expensive hurricanes in terms of property damages occurring in the US in the past decade:
Hurricane Name Total Property Damage
Hurricane Harvey (2017) $125 billion, in the Texas and Louisiana areas
Hurricane Sandy (2012) $70.2 billion, in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern US
Hurricane Irma (2017) $50 billion, in the Florida region
Hurricane Irene (2011) $14.98 billion, in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern US
Hurricane Matthew (2016) $10.3 billion, in the southeastern US

This list contains only hurricanes that occurred in the last 10 years. From an all-time perspective, Hurricane Katrina (2005) led to property damage worth $160 billion; the costliest hurricane by far. 

Source: USA Today

Worst Hurricanes by Death Toll

  1. Here is a list highlighting the 5 worst US-based hurricanes in terms of the death toll:
Hurricane Death toll
The Great Galveston Hurricane in Texas (1900) This was a category 4 hurricane with a death toll of approximately 8,000 people; thousands of people were injured as well. 
The Lake Okeechobee Hurricane in Florida (1928) This category 4 storm had a death toll of approximately 2,500, making it the most severe last hurricane in Florida. 
The Katrina Hurricane in LA/FL/AL/GA/MS (2005) A category 5 hurricane responsible for over 1,200 deaths and thousands of injuries.
The Cheniere Caminada Hurricane (1893) This category 4 hurricane reportedly caused between 1100–2000 deaths. 
The Sea Islands Hurricane (1893) This particular storm is responsible for some 1000–2000 deaths. 

In the case of hurricanes that occurred more than a century ago, the death toll numbers are just rough approximations seeing how record keeping was not as advanced as it is today — hence why you should always take them with a grain of salt.

Source: Wunder Ground

Hurricane Statistics and the Insurance Industry

Hurricanes are invasive, deadly, and unprecedented natural phenomena capable of wreaking havoc in the billions (of dollars). Luckily, such storms can be predicted thanks to meteorological equipment, making it significantly easier to save lives. On the other hand, once such a storm does form, there are no known ways of stopping it or even limiting the amount of material damage caused by various hurricanes per year.

Therefore, it is vital to have the proper insurance coverage against hurricanes if you happen to be living in an area where such storms are common. When signing an insurance policy, make sure that it also covers the main side-effects, such as flooding, or sewer back-up. Lacking home insurance coverage  in the unfortunate case of a hurricane will likely lead to huge costs and debts.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many hurricanes happen each year?

Analysis has shown that, annually, roughly 1.75 hurricanes hit the US coastline; up to 7 hurricanes affect the US every four years. On the other hand, roughly 10 hurricanes develop over oceans surrounding the US annually, yet most of these never reach the coastline. The most hurricanes in a year were reported in 2005 when 15 storms transformed into hurricanes. 

2. How many Category 5 hurricanes have hit the US?

Research has shown that since 1924 a total of 35 category 5 hurricanes have been recorded in the North Atlantic. However, since then, a total of 5 hurricanes of this strength have hit US soil, leading to billions of dollars’ worth of material damages, according to our hurricane landfall statistics.  

3. What was the worst hurricane to hit the US?

Reports indicate that the Great Galveston Hurricane was the deadliest tropical storm to ever hit the US. This hurricane struck in 1900 and led to 8,000–12,000 fatalities. 

The public infrastructure was considerably weaker back in the day, therefore a hurricane of this magnitude today would likely lead to fewer casualties (at the moment, emergency services such as search & rescue are also stronger than ever). Also, a lot of people asked: “how many hurricanes in 2019 affected the US?” 

Well, a total of 18 named storms occurred, yet only 6 became hurricanes. 

4. Is a category 6 hurricane possible?

Currently, a category 6 hurricane does not exist, nor has one been recorded thus far. Despite this, a hurricane of this magnitude is theoretically possible, as long as winds surpass the 200 mph threshold. 

Nevertheless, scientific research makes a category 6 hurricane highly unlikely, since incredibly specific conditions need to be fulfilled in order to create a wind speed of over 200 mph; Gulf Coast hurricanes came nowhere close to this.

5. What is the largest hurricane ever recorded on Earth?

Hurricane Patricia represents the world’s largest hurricane, in terms of wind speeds. Meteorological analysis has shown that wind speeds reached the 200 mph mark. This particular tropical storm took place near the coast of Mexico and managed to break all existing records. Patricia also had the lowest minimum pressure ever recorded in the case of a hurricane, with a value of roughly 870 millibars, according to hurricane statistics.

2 comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *