92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Sunday, 22 January 2012
Economic Impacts of Hurricanes
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Heather J. Key, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL; and A. Schwalm and M. Herchenbach

Hurricanes that make landfall leave a significant amount of damage. These hurricanes produce millions of dollars' worth of damage each year. Hurricanes can have significant effects on the economy. On August 17, 1969, Hurricane Camille had made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Hurricane Katrina made landfall as a strong category 3 storm with 127 mph sustained winds (“Hurricane Camille, the USA's second strongest 20th century hurricane, hit the Gulf Coast in 1969”, National Climatic Data Center). For this comparison, the hurricane track, intensity, preparation information, timing, storm surge data, counties of impact, official preliminary report, destruction caused, death toll, economic and social impacts, and the Hurricane Severity Index information regarding both hurricanes was obtained.

According to the Saffir-Simpson scale, Camille would seem to have caused much more damage due to its strength when it hit, this however is not exactly true (“Hurricane Camille, the USA's second strongest 20th century hurricane, hit the Gulf Coast in 1969”). By using the Hurricane Severity Index, Camille got more points for its intensity than Katrina, but Katrina had larger amount of points for the size (Herbert 1-3). This proves that even though Katrina hit at a weaker wind speed, its size made up for it. The greater the maximum wind radius the more of an economic and social impact a Hurricane will leave. Although Hurricanes greatly impact specific areas economically, the effect on the economy in the U.S. is merely a little dent. Katrina hit much weaker but still had much more of an economic and geographic affect because of its size. Both of these storms took relatively the same exact course and hit around the same area, so the only differences would be the size and intensity of the storms.

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