Hurricane Irma was an extremely powerful storm. In fact, it was one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean with maximum sustained winds peaking at 185 mph. The storm caused catastrophic damage to the islands of Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane as well as pummeling other northern Caribbean islands in its path. She began to end her destructive journey as a hurricane riding up the state of Florida, impacting all of the counties of the state, and causing widespread property damage and long-lasting power outages that affected millions of Floridians. One of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Irma were the Florida Keys. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that about 25 percent of the homes in the Keys were destroyed after Hurricane Irma made its way through the low lying island chain – many islands, of which are less than 3 feet above sea level.
At What Cost?
A preliminary report released Tuesday by CoreLogic estimates that property damage in Florida from Hurricane Irma is now between $42.5 billion to $65 billion. This estimate includes the total insured and uninsured loss for both residential and commercial properties as well as damage from both flood and wind. Despite the impressive wind speeds a hurricane showcases, it is typically the water that causes the most damage during and after the storm. An estimated $13.5 billion to $19 billion of insured losses were resulted of wind damage for all properties. Of that amount, an estimated $11 billion to $15 billion is representative of residential loss. This pales in comparison to the cost of flood damage directly contributed from Hurricane Irma reported by CoreLogic.
The estimates for flooded homes amounts at $25 billion to $38 billion in losses from storm surge, inland and flash flooding that Hurricane Irma brought with her to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina. Of that total amount, insured residential losses were estimated at $5 billion to $8 billion, and homes without flood insurance estimated at $20 billion to $30 billion – that is a whopping 80 percent estimated residential properties with flood damage from Hurricane Irma that will not be covered by any flood insurance!
Losses as a result of wind and/or flood for commercial properties were lower in comparison to residential properties. Total insured flood loss for commercial properties is estimated $4 billion to $8 billion, and total wind damage loss for commercial properties is an estimated $2.5 billion to $4 billion.