2A.1 Normalized Hurricane Damage in the U.S.: 1900- 2017

Monday, 16 April 2018: 10:30 AM
Masters E (Sawgrass Marriott)
Jessica Weinkle, Univ. of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC; and R. Pielke Jr., C. Landsea, D. Collins, R. Musulin, R. P. Crompton, and P. J. Klotzbach

After the active Atlantic hurricanes seasons of 2004 and 2005, the period 2006-2016, was the longest recorded period of no major hurricane landfalls on the US mainland. That period ended in 2017, with two major hurricane landfalls and well over $100 billion in economic damage. This paper updates and extends previous work that “normalizes” mainland US hurricane damage from 1900-2017 to 2017 US dollar values. The analysis reflects the ongoing HURDAT reanalysis efforts. Two separate normalization methodologies show no significant trends in mainland US normalized damage. Such a lack of trends is expected as it corresponds to a lack of trends in landfall hurricane frequency and intensity over the record. Normalized losses for the 1926 Great Miami Hurricane are upwards of $200 billion. Also of interest, 2017 Hurricane Irma surpasses the wind-related losses of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Previously published analysis revealed losses from 2005 Hurricane Katrina as ranking above the 1900 Galveston Hurricane. However, declining population in the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina shifts its rank to below the Galveston Hurricane. This re-ranking illustrates the significance of concentrated population and wealth in coastal areas as a primary driver of societal vulnerability to increasing hurricane losses.
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