Katrina costliest, 3rd deadliest U.S. hurricane
With the 2007 hurricane season less than a month away, the National Hurricane Center has updated its listing of the costliest and deadliest hurricanes to strike the U.S.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, Katrina, which struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in late August 2005, is ranked as the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, with damages exceeding $81 billion. Even after adjustment for inflation, Hurricane Andrew, which trashed South Florida in 1992, still comes in a distant second, at $42 billion.
In terms of deaths, Katrina ranks third, with an estimated 1,500 dead. The death toll from the 1900 hurricane that ravaged Galveston, Tex. remains the highest at some 8,000. (The true number has never been determined.) In second place is a 1928 storm that killed an estimated 2,500 in South Florida and Lake Okeechobee.
Katrina also ranks third in storm intensity at landfall, with a barometric reading of 27.17 inches.
For the full report, click here.
It's interesting to note that the 1900 and 1928 storms were both Category 4 storms, while Katrina was a weaker Category 3 at landfall. Andrew - the second-ranking storm in terms of storm damage, does not even rank among the top 50 for storm fatalities.
The standings reflect what hurricane scientists have been saying all along - that while modern early-warning and forecasting skills are saving lives, intense development along our vulnerable coastlines is accelerating the property damage totals from comparatively weaker storms.