The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season shattered records across the board of meteorology, but one record it didn’t break was the cost of damages.
Regardless, the outlier year is still responsible for a whopping total estimated between $60-65 billion in damages to the United States, according to an AccuWeather report.
“AccuWeather’s estimate includes all losses and financial impact to the economy, which are greater than insured losses,” said AccuWeather CEO Joel Myers.
The estimate would put the 2020 season as the fifth costliest storm season of the last 30 years, with the number one season belonging to 2017, which had an estimated $278.3 billion worth of damages thanks to storms like hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s database.
The United States faced a record 12 storms that made landfall during the 2020 Atlantic season. The previous record was nine.
Seven of the 12 storm’s outer bands brought great damages to Florida’s Gulf Coast. However, only Hurricane Eta in November made landfall in the Sunshine State, which it accomplished twice; once in Lower Matecumbe Key, in the Florida Keys and again in the Tampa area.
AccuWeather estimates point to Category 4 Hurricane Laura’s arrival in August in south Louisiana as the most damaging storm of the year, responsible for nearly half the estimate; between $25-30 billion.
“Hurricane Sally, Hurricane Delta, Hurricane Zeta, Hurricane Isaias, and Tropical Storm Beta were other storms that also caused at least $1 billion of estimated damage,” according to AccuWeather’s report.
AccuWeather’s estimate was calculated by taking economic and weather factors into consideration including damages from homes, buildings’ contents along with damaged or destroyed vehicles, job and wage losses, business losses and bankruptcies, agricultural and crop losses, damage from storm surge to coastal areas, contamination of drinking water, infrastructure damage, municipal and state costs, federal assistance, cleanup costs and health costs, including the cost of long-term, lingering health effects.
An official tally on the Atlantic 2020 hurricane season’s damage total has not been calculated as of this time. The National Hurricane Center is still gathering data on all 30 named storms, said the NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen.
“There are certainly no official damage estimates yet. Much of it is still being accessed and tabulated by federal and state officials as well as the insurance carriers,” Feltgen said.
The NHC will likely release those numbers in 2021, Feltgen said.