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Ida was a bad one made even worse by climate change. She moved into the top ten of all hurricanes.

Hurricane Ida has claimed the No. 5 spot in the 10 most expensive hurricanes in U.S. history, according to a new report from the National Centers for Environmental Information. Causing damage estimated so far at $75 billion, Ida, which struck Louisiana on Aug. 29, ranks just below Hurricane Sandy of 2012 and just above Hurricane Irma of 2017. The national centers bases its estimates on reports from other federal and state government agencies, the insurance industry and other sources. It updated its annual report Jan. 10. Of the 10 costliest storms in U.S. history, all but one have come in the past 20 years, further evidence of how climate change is causing more intense storms. The Top 10 storms hit Florida (3), Louisiana (3) and Texas (2), as well as Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and New Jersey. Several of them – hurricanes Katrina and Andrew, for example – hit more than one state. But it’s not just coastal states where costs mount. Once a hurricane comes ashore and weakens, it is cut off from the warm seawater that fuels it but still carries immense amounts of moisture. As it moves hundreds of miles inland and tears apart, it continues to dump that moisture in the form of phenomenal rain that floods creeks and rivers, causing even more damage.

Ranked here, by estimated damage in 2021 dollars, are what the National Centers for Environmental Information consider to be the 10 most expensive hurricanes in U.S. history:

10. Wilma, 2005, $27.7 billion

Wilma made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on Oct. 23, 2005, near Cape Romano, Fla. It raked the Florida peninsula in less than five hours and headed out to sea.

9. Ivan, 2004, $30.8 billiion

Ivan made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane just west of Gulf Shores, Alabama, on Sept. 16, 2004. It weakened as it moved inland, producing more than 100 tornadoes and heavy rain across much of the southeastern United States, before merging with a frontal system over the Delmarva Peninsula on Sept. 18. Then an extratropical low-pressure remnant of Ivan drifted southward in the western Atlantic for several days, crossed southern Florida and re-entered the Gulf of Mexico on Sept. 21. It became a tropical storm, then weakened into a tropical depression before blowing into southwest Louisiana on Sept. 24.

8. Ike, 2008, $39.8 Billion

Ike came ashore at the north end of Galveston Island, Texas, on Sept. 13, 2008, as a Category 2 hurricane. It weakened as it moved inland across eastern Texas, Arkansas and the Mississippi River Valley but was still gusting with hurricane-force winds into the Ohio River Valley and on to Canada.

7. Andrew, 1992, $54.3 billion

Andrew blasted south Florida on Aug. 24, 1992, making landfall at Homestead as Category 5 hurricane. It moved west in the Gulf of Mexico, curved north and came ashore in Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane near Morgan City.

6. Irma, 2017, $56.5 billion

Hurricane Irma was big, slow and long-lived. It made its first U.S. landfall at Cudjoe Key, Florida, as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 10, then tracked through Florida’s Big Bend, southwest Georgia and southeast Alabama.

5. Ida, 2021, $75.0 billion

Ida roared into Louisiana near Port Fourchon on Aug. 29 with winds of 150 mph, a Category 4 storm, tying it for the strongest hurricane ever to hit the state. Its wind and storm surge caused catastrophic damage along the coast and destroyed buildings well inland in southeast Louisiana and south Mississippi.

4. Sandy, 2012, $80.0 biliion

At its strongest, Sandy was a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. But by the time its eye crossed inland at Brigantine, New Jersey, on Oct. 29, 2012, it had lost hurricane status. Nonetheless, it wreaked havoc throughout the New York City area. Its effects extended as far west as Wisconsin, and it even caused blizzards in western North Carolina and West Virginia.

3. Maria, 2017, %101.7 billion

In just 18 hours, Maria intensified from a Category 1 to a Category 5 hurricane before slipping to Category 4 on Sept. 20 and making landfall at Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.

2. Harvey, 2017, $141.3 Biliion

Harvey was the first major hurricane to strike the middle Texas coast in 47 years. It came ashore Aug. 25 at San Jose Island as a Category 4 storm then hit the mainland towns of Rockport and Fulton. The storm slowed then meandered over land near the coast for two days before moving offshore. As a tropical storm, it made another landfall in Louisiana at Cameron on Aug 30.

  1. Katrina, 2005, $182.0 billion

By far the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, Katrina made landfall Aug. 25, 2005, as a Category 1 storm near the Dade-Broward County line in Florida. It entered the Gulf of Mexico and strengthened to Category 5, then fell to Category 3 by the time it roared ashore Aug. 29 in Louisiana at Buras. It made a third landfall near the Louisiana-Mississippi line before moving into the Tennessee River Valley. Much of Katrina’s destruction was due to the failure to federal levees in New Orleans.

Andrew was in 1992 and all of the others have been in this century. That does not bode well for the next ones in the upcoming season.

Ida in the top 10
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