If you live anywhere in Texas or Louisiana, Hurricane Harvey is still dominating the conversation. Now Hurricane Irma is bearing down on the Caribbean and may possibly make landfall in the United States, and it is a rather dangerous Category 5 storm.
Because Harvey hit such a wide area and it damaged so much infrastructure, the total financial cost of the storm varies widely. The actual cost may not be known for months, but Fortune recently put a $180 billion price tag for the impact of Harvey. The president has asked Congress to approve $7.85 billion for initial recovery efforts.
Florida does have one financial benefit ahead of Irma. The state has the largest number of National Flood Insurance Program policies that are in force. Florida, the third-largest state by population, has few properties that are well above sea level, which is why it has more flood insurance policies than any other state.
Calculating any financial damage to Florida will be a difficult job, and forecasts vary on where Irma is going to hit. Some models show Irma striking many parts of Florida, but there is also a still a chance that the hurricane will get into the Gulf of Mexico.
As of June 30, 2017, Florida had 1,732,248 policies in force for a total value of $422.9 billion. Texas had 593,115 in-force policies with a face value of $161.2 billion at the end of June. Louisiana had 491,316 policies in force with a value of $124.9 billion. For a comparison to California, that state had 246,074 FEMA flood policies in force worth $69.98 billion.
In July, 24/7 Wall St. revisited its projections for which major metro areas in the United States would face the worst hurricane damage. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach region was the most at-risk, with a potential cost of reconstruction more than $143 billion. Other major metro areas of Florida dominated that list, and Houston was the seventh-highest projected cost for reconstruction.
Unfortunately for Florida, the state was also shown to still have one of the highest rates of underwater mortgages as well.
According to CBS, the total cost from Superstorm Sandy (2012) was more than $71 billion, and Hurricane Ike (2008) was closer to $30 billion.
And as if Irma was not enough a cause for concern, there is now the newly named Tropical Storm Jose out in the Atlantic and the National Hurricane Center has projected that it will develop into a hurricane by Thursday morning.
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