As Hurricane Harvey moves away from the Gulf Coast, the storm leaves behind a massive amount of devastation in its wake.
Flooding and storm damage in Texas and Louisiana is expected to cost as much as $US100 billion to clean up and repair the damage.
While Harvey is on pace to be one of the most costly disasters in US history, it isn’t the only devastating natural disaster to hit the US this year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centres for Environmental Information, Harvey is the 10th weather even to cause over $US1 billion in economic damage this year.
According to NOAA, these statistics take into account all forms of spending to recover from damage.
“In performing these disaster cost assessments these statistics were taken from a wide variety of sources and represent, to the best of our ability, the estimated total costs of these events — that is, the costs in terms of dollars that would not have been incurred had the event not taken place,” said a post from NOAA on the method behind the computation.
Hurricanes are the most frequent $US1 billion disasters and are also the costliest on average between 1980 and 2017.
The number of events is also noteworthy because the average since 1980, even adjusting for inflation, is just five and a half $US1 billion events a year. In the last five years the average is 10.6, meaning one more event would put 2017 above average.
According to NOAA, the trend indicates a recent increase in $US1 billion disasters.
“During the first half of 2017 (January-June), the US experienced a rapid succession of disaster events, which follows the near-record number of billion-dollar disasters that impacted the US in 2016,” said the post from NOAA.
Congress is expected to allocate the first relief package, reportedly just over $US5 billion, as soon as it returns from recess on Tuesday.