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2020 In Review: Hurricanes

Everyone has good and bad years. In previous years, there are always some folks that are happy to turn the page and get a clean slate. Then, there are those who are happy with how life has treated them the last 12 months and look back fondly. 2020, however, is different. It would be challenging to find another year so universally despised. And it’s for good reason. Most famously, 2020 has brought us the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over 1.64 million people worldwide as of this writing, and 300,000 in the United States alone. But the Coronavirus isn’t the only disaster to make 2020 one of the worst years on record for so many. There have also been record setting storms, wildfires, and hurricanes. Here’s a look back on this record setting hurricane season.

Statistics At A Glance

Before the hurricane season even started, there were predictions that this would be a more active season than usual. Experts expected that this would be an “extremely active” season and estimated that there could be as many as 10-15 named storms. That ended up being a conservative estimate. We had 30 named storms in 2020, exhausting the alphabet and dipping into the greek alphabet for the second time ever. Out of those 30 named storms, 13 became hurricanes. Of those 13, 6 were a category 3 or higher. The most damaging storms recorded insured loss estimates in the billions of dollars. Of all the areas impacted, Louisiana was particularly hard hit. They had 3 storms make landfall this season, including the season’s most damaging storm, Hurricane Laura.

Biggest Impact Storms

Hurricane Laura – Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana as a category 4 storm on August 27, 2020. It was the strongest storm to hit the state since the 1856 Last Island Hurricane when measured by maximum sustained winds. Over 40 people died as a result of the storm, and caused an estimated $16 billion in damages.

Hurricane Delta – Hurricane Delta was the 9th hurricane of the 2020 season and the 4th to hit Louisiana this year, tying previous records. This storm is most notable for the fact that it hit the same area of Louisiana that was devastated by Laura only 6 weeks earlier. Many residents in the areas still had not gotten power and other utilities back from the previous storms.  

Hurricane Iota – Iota was the biggest storm of the season when measured by maximum sustained winds, measuring as a category 5 storm. It was also the latest storm of the season as of this writing. It made landfall in Nicaragua as a high-end category 4 hurricane on November 16, making it the latest storm to reach a category 5 intensity. While this storm didn’t affect the United States, it is notable for its historic intensity and lateness in the hurricane season.

Financial Impact

The 2020 hurricane season broke records for the sheer number of storms and how long they persisted into the fall. However, the damage estimates aren’t following the record-breaking trend. Experts estimate that the losses from all the hurricanes and tropical storms of 2020 totals between $60 and $65 billion. Almost half of that estimate comes from Laura alone, with the remaining storms making up the total. Damages in 2018 totaled about 50 million, but there were only about half the number of storms as this year. 2017, the previous most active year ever, had damage totals over $200 billion from 17 named storms. We can conclude that while this year set a record for the number of storms, many were smaller and less damaging than in previous years, sparing many from outsize damages.

What Will 2021 Bring? Be Ready With 2021 Training!

This was the 4th year in a row to have higher than average hurricane activity. Experts don’t see that trend slowing down. Many scientists believe that the effects of climate change will continue to impact weather patterns, bringing more and higher intensity storms. The need for insurance adjusters to help people pick up the pieces after these events is higher than ever. Be ready to spring into action in 2021 by starting your training today. Click here to learn more about our new adjuster training courses.


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