The estimated cost of the damages incurred by Hurricane Harvey ranges between $70-108 billion with some analysts predicting an even larger amount.
Hurricane Harvey’s price tag is continuing to grow as reports of widespread flooding and destroyed properties are updated. While Harvey has damage that is still incalculable, most estimates show the financial damage exceeding Hurricane Sandy, which cost just over $70 billion, the New York Times reports. Hurricane Katrina is still the most expensive natural disaster to lay claim to the United States, ringing in at $160 billion and resulting in over 1,800 deaths.
Some analysts have even suggested that Harvey may exceed the price of Katrina. Dr. Joel Myers, who founded Accuweather, claimed that the storm could cost as much as $190 billion. Such damage would make a visible dent in the economy, even making the expected growth of the economy negligible. Myers also noted that his meteorologists expect the temperatures to climb which will make standing water a hotbed for bacteria.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which publishes the official government reports detailing the cost of natural disasters, is not expected to release their findings for a few months. A NOAA scientist explained to the Times, “Each day that passes, as the impacts multiply, it seems more likely that Harvey may ultimately eclipse the cost of Katrina, and it might not even be close.”
According to CoreLogic, a property analytics firm, up to 70 percent of property damage won’t be covered by insurance companies, due to the fact that only a small percentage of the properties affected by flooding were covered by flood insurance.
Since 1980, there have been 212 natural disasters that cost over $1 billion. And hurricanes make up a bulk of the most expensive natural disasters. The top 10 most damaging hurricanes cost around a third of the total damage since 1980.