The Scale And Costs Of Hurricane Irma

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By Mike Powell

Hurricane Irma is stacking up to be one of the costliest hurricanes in United States history, with estimates totaling up to over $200 billion in costs, most of which will be borne by insurance companies and private homeowners. These estimates would potentially place Irma over Katrina in economic cost, although casualties and loss of life are expected to be much lower than 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Florida claims the largest share of the storm’s damage, with most of Irma’s power centered along the state’s entire peninsula and panhandle, but damage from rain and flooding has reached parts of Mississippi and Tennessee.

Picking up the pieces from such a disaster is expected to be both costly and time-intensive. Intensive flooding, fires, and other forms of storm damage have left much of Florida in ruins. For some, cleanup should involve little more than some drying, repainting, and repurchasing of lost items. Others have lost entire homes and properties. The Keys, in particular, have been hit heavily, with many houseboats destroyed and land-based properties completely submerged as entire islands at a time went underwater.

Flooding can cause visible and difficult-to-remove types of long-term damage to a home, such as staining, material warping, and mold growth. While immediate response and cleanup efforts can significantly reduce these effects, in the aftermath of a hurricane on the scale of Irma, transportation infrastructure does not often allow for concerted and well-rounded responses. As a result, many property owners are forced to start cleanup much later than they would prefer, increasing both costs and time spent on repairs.

Newer homes are built to higher standards and have consequently withstood the storm much better than old developments. Older homes face, in some cases, complete destruction and problems on a structural level. For these homes, which may face total destruction if their problems are not carefully addressed, contacting a professional storm damage cleanup and restoration company should be a top priority. These companies help to rebuild and replace after a storm without placing undue strain on an already-devastated homeowner.


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