U.S. Officials: Harvey and Irma Could Cost the U.S. $300 Billion
Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida as a Category 4 storm and forecasters estimate damages from the storm at about $100 billion. Combine that with the estimated total economic impact of $200 billion from Hurricane Harvey, the U.. S. could be in for a $300 billion bill.
Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and Texas Gulf Coast a few weeks ago after dumping an unprecedented 52 inches of rain. Experts say the financial impact from both storms could go even higher when everything is factored in.
AccuWeather President Joel Myers said in a statement over the weekend that Hurricane Harvey which hammered Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast, and Louisiana last month would be the most costly weather disaster in U.S. history and Irma is expected to cause record-breaking damages as well.
“We believe the damage estimate from Irma to be about $100 billion — among the costliest hurricanes of all time. This amounts to 0.5 of a percentage point of the GDP of $19 trillion,” Myers said. “We estimated that Hurricane Harvey is to be the costliest weather disaster in U.S. history, at $190 billion, or 1 full percentage point of the GDP.”
“Together, AccuWeather predicts, these two disasters amount to 1.5 of a percentage point of the GDP, which will about equal and therefore counter the natural growth of the economy for the period of mid-August through the end of the fourth quarter,” he added.
Myers added that economic costs to the United States include crop losses, disruptions to businesses, damage to infrastructure, increased rates of unemployment, property damage and higher fuel prices.
“Some of the losses will be covered by insurance, some will not, so the losses will be felt in a variety of ways by millions of people,” Myers said. “Many millions of people have already been evacuated, so their lives have already been affected, and they have incurred costs of one sort or another,” he said.
He admits that it will take a while for the full impact of both storms to be fully known but it is expected to be the most costly storms to hit the U.S. in recent memory.
Hurricane Irma is still ravaging Florida as it heads to Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. The governors of Georgia and South Carolina have declared states of emergency for all counties in their states.
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