Ian may be one of the 5 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history

Evolving damage estimates range between $47 and $100 billion

Hurricane Ian made a second U.S. landfall in South Carolina Friday. Ian’s storm surge pushed water into coastal communities like Pawleys Island …

and Myrtle Beach.

Preliminary data suggests the storm surge in Myrtle Beach reached more than 6 feet.

The tidal gauge Friday at Myrtle Beach recorded the third highest level on record.

Myrtle Beach flood gauge
Myrtle Beach flood gauge.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Damage estimates in the billions

It’s still too early for precise damage costs from Ian’s wrath. Crews are still in search and recovery mode in many places in Florida.

But damage cost estimates are starting to roll in. The range of testament at this point would put Ian in the top 10 costliest hurricanes in the United States, and possibly the top five.

CNN cites Core Logic’s estimate that Ian will cost $47 billion in Florida alone.

Hurricane Ian may have caused as much as $47 billion in insured losses, according to the latest estimate, which could make it the most expensive storm in the state’s history.

CoreLogic, a research firm that estimates losses from natural disasters, released the estimate for damages as of Thursday night. The estimates combine insured losses through private insurance, which typically covers wind damage, and FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program that covers water damage.

The estimates from CoreLogic range from $22 billion to $32 billion for wind damage and an additional $6 billion to $15 billion in flood damage. So in total, the low end of the combined estimate would be $28 billion — just above the $26.5 billion in losses caused by Hurricane Andrew, which hit South Florida in 1992, and has been ranked as the state’s most expensive storm ever since.

ABC News cites an estimate by Enki Research that Ian could cost as much as $65 billion.

In all, the economic damage wrought by the hurricane could reach up to $65 billion, according to a projection released on Thursday by data firm Enki Research, which studies the financial impact of storms.

The estimate put the best-case scenario for storm damage at $55 billion, Enki Research said.

The projected costs for Hurricane Ian would amount to less than half of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, which totaled $161 billion.

Some estimates suggest the damage from Ian could go as high as $100 billion.

Here’s more context with a look at the costliest tropical cyclones in U.S history from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in consultation with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has updated this listing of costliest tropical cyclones to strike the United States. This listing was previously found in the NOAA memorandum The Deadliest, Costliest and Most Intense U.S. Tropical Cyclones, at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf For all United States hurricanes, Hurricane Katrina (2005, $186.3B*) is the costliest storm on record. Hurricane Harvey (2017, $148.8B*) ranks second, Hurricane Maria (2017, $107.1B*) ranks third, Hurricane Sandy (2012, $81.9B*) ranks fourth, and Hurricane Ida (2021, $78.7B*) ranks fifth. The NCEI data set provides more loss information than previous damage figures used by NHC, including agriculture, individual payouts, and disaster money from the federal government to the respective states. In performing these disaster cost assessments, NCEI examined statistics from a wide variety of sources. Using the latest scientific methodology, it determined 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. Insured and uninsured losses are included in damage estimates. Sources include the National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, individual state emergency management agencies, state and regional climate centers, media reports, and insurance industry estimates. For more information visit https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/billions/

Costliest U.S. Hurricanes
Costliest U.S. Hurricanes

It will likely be weeks before we have a clearer picture of Ian’s economic cost, and the impacts on Florida’s and the U.S. insurance industry.