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March-April 2018

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The Costliest Hurricane Season in U.S. History

The 2017 hurricane season was the costliest season since records began in 1851, thanks in large part to the devastation wrought by the “terrible trio” of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. It was the first time the United States and its territories was struck by three Category 4 hurricanes at landfall; the first time the continental U.S. was struck by two Category 4s in a single season; and what will likely become the costliest hurricane season ever—coming in at nearly $370 billion dollars (preliminary estimates vary). Most of this cost is due to Harvey, Irma, and Maria, three very different storms in terms of their impacts, which we will explore individually.

 

Weatherwise Contributing Editor JEFFREY B. HALVERSON is professor of geography at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

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