Hurricane Harvey to Cost U.S. Economy $30+ Billion


September 2017

By Selina Stoller, Summit AmeriFirst Holdings, LLC

Last Friday, Hurricane Harvey hit southeastern Texas, causing unprecedented, catastrophic flooding and damage.

It’s the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, which ended a record 12-year period with no major hurricanes in the U.S.

Weather and insurance experts expect Harvey to be one of the costliest storms in U.S. history in terms of economic losses.

Chuck Watson, the director of research and development at Enki Research, believes that losses could reach $30 billion, including its impact on transportation systems, electrical power, and the work force. That would place it among the top eight hurricanes to ever strike the U.S. David Havens, an insurance analyst at Imperial Capital, said the final tally might be as high as $100 billion.

Moreover, flooding along Texas’ coast could have long-standing consequences for the state’s oil and gas industry and the larger U.S. economy. The storm’s remnants left much of Houston underwater on Sunday, and the National Weather Service says it’s not over yet.

Parts of Houston and its suburbs could end up with more than 50 inches of rain.

Heavy precipitation and wind are expected to last for days, but there is already plenty of destruction.

“If Harvey had been a run-of-the-mill hurricane, it would have cost less than $5 billion of damage,” Watson said. “The problem is that Harvey is acting more like a big, wet tropical storm. Harvey has dumped more rain in three days than Tropical Storm Allison did in five, and it’s on track to almost double the Allison rainfall.”

The most damaging storm ever was Hurricane Katrina, with total damages of $118 billion, according to Enki Research. Sandy was the second-most damaging, at $75 billion. 2001’s Allison caused about $12 billion in damages.

  • 1 Sep, 2017
  • Josh Smith

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