You are here

Counting the cost

Sunday, September 10, 2017
Hurricane season 2017

According to reports from meteorologists around the world, the 2017 hurricane season has been one of the most intense on record.

The devastation and loss of life caused by hurricanes accrue significant costs to all those affected. Storm activity typically ramps up in September and statistics show that the hurricane season peaks closer to the middle of the month.

In this week’s edition of the Sunday Business Guardian, we take a look at the ten costliest Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded. The list is based on hurricanes that have inflicted over US$1 billion in damage.


Katrina has been recorded as the costliest hurricane on record. The storm originated in over the Bahamas region and climbed all the way to a Category 5 hurricane with windspeeds of 280 kmph per hour. Between 1200 and 1800 fatalities occurred as a result of Katrina


Hurricane Sandy developed in October of 2012 in the region of Jamaica. It eventually developed windspeeds of 185 kmph per hour and the estimated loss of life stood at 233 fatalities


Estimated to be the third costliest hurricane in recorded history, Harvey formed in August of this year, growing into a category 4 hurricane with windspeeds of 215 kmph. To date, there have been 71 confirmed fatalities as a result of Harvey’s destruction


Another September Hurricane, Ike, developed just off the western coast of Africa and barrelled through the Caribbean region. The hurricane resulted in 195 fatalities with 16 persons recorded as missing to this day


A category 5 hurricane, Wilma brought devastation in 2005 with windspeeds as high as 295 kmph. The hurricane developed in the Caribbean sea near to Jamaica, and ended up registering 87 fatalities


Forming just off the west coast of Africa, Andrew is known for the havoc inflicted upon Caribbean island and Florida. The hurricane developed in August 1992, eventually topping out as a category 5 hurricane with windspeeds of over 280 kmph


Ivan was a force to be reckoned with in 2004. The hurricane took at total of 124 lives, and inflicted massive damage on regions such as Grenada, Venezuela, and the Cayman Islands


Irene made her destructive presence felt in August 2011. Forming of the African west coast, the hurricane eventually offloaded its wrath in areas such as Hispaniola, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas. The final loss of life was recorded at 62


In 2004, Charley formed and left a destructive path behind him. Topping out as a category 5, Charley devastated regions such as Jamaica, Cuba, and the Carolinas. The hurricane took 35 lives in its aftermath


Matthew will go down as one of the most destructive hurricanes in Western history in terms of loss of life with over 600 fatalities being registered as a result of it’s devastation. The hurricane maxed out as a category 5, with windspeeds of over 270 kmph and destroyed most of the Lesser Antilles, Bahamas, and the East coast of the United States


Name Year Damage (US$) Areas affected

Katrina 2005 $108 billion The Bahamas , US Gulf Coast Region

Sandy 2012 $75 billion The Caribbean, US East Coast, Eastern Canada

Harvey 2017 $70 billion (and growing) Texas, Louisiana, Belize, Honduras, Windward Islands

Ike 2008 $37.5 billion Greater Antilles, Texas, Louisiana

Wilma 2005 $29.4 billion Central America, Greater Antilles, Florida

Andrew 1992 $26.5 billion Florida, Bahamas, US Gulf Coast

Ivan 2004 $23.3 billion The Caribbean, Venezuela, US Gulf Coast

Irene 2011 $16.6 billion The Caribbean, US East Coast, Eastern Canada

Charley 2004 $16.3 billion Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cuba

Matthew 2016 $15.09 billion Venezuela, Colombia, US East Coast


User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff.

Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.

Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments.

Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.

Before posting, please refer to the Community Standards, Terms and conditions and Privacy Policy

User profiles registered through fake social media accounts may be deleted without notice.