Natural Disasters: Hurricanes in the US
Even though hurricanes mainly threaten the US Gulf and East Coasts, of all the natural disasters that happen in America, hurricanes are the most costly and destructive. Hurricanes can strike anywhere from Southern Texas to New England, but by far, Louisiana gets the worst of it. Ten counties in Louisiana get pummeled by hurricanes an average of every 2.9 years.
Global Data Vault has developed the infographic below from various sources but largely from data provided by FEMA. We hope it serves to educate the business community, raise awareness and ultimately to enhance the general state of preparedness.
Magnitude of Damage Caused by Hurricanes
The magnitude of impact for hurricanes is massive. Hurricane Katrina — only a category 3 hurricane when it hit land — caused $125B in losses and took the lives of 1,833 people. Hurricane Sandy was a mere category 2 when it hit land and it managed to cause $68B in damages and killed 286 people. Comparatively, a category 5 hurricane can deliver winds in excess of 155 mph, fast enough to knock down all the trees in its path and completely demolish substantial buildings.
But as dangerous as the winds of a hurricane are, the greatest danger they pose is from the storm surge they create. A category five hurricane can produce a storm surge up to 18’ high, enough to cause serious flooding for miles inland, damaging everything below 15’ above sea level.
Hurricanes can have a diameter of 400 – 500 miles, the eye can be 20 miles across and they often spin off tornadoes, which only complicates the situation further.
Through better planning and preparation, hurricane losses – both financial and human – can be decreased.