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Hurricane season here as Dorian threatens Florida: A look at the costly toll of what they leave behind

Rachel Tesler

Hurricanes, like Dorian, cost the U.S. billions of dollars in damages every year. Between 1986 and 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates destruction caused by hurricanes totaled more than $515 billion.

FOX Business breaks down the five costliest hurricanes to hit the U.S.

Here's a look at what it took to repair some of the worst damage that's come to America's shores.


In 2017, Hurricane Irma affected residents of Cape Verde, Leeward Islands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and the Southeastern U.S. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Department of Commerce lists this hurricane as the fifth most costly storm in U.S. history with over $50 billion in damages. More than 134 people died as a result of the storm.


New York and areas surrounding the Big Apple recoiled from the widespread wreckage of Hurricane Sandy. Part of New York City went dark after the storm and trains went down.

The city is still repairing damages from the October 2012 disaster that killed 147 people. NOAA reports it as the fourth most expensive storm with $71 billion in damage.


As the first blow in the existential destruction to Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria claimed more than 2,975 lives in September 2017, according to a George Washington University survey commissioned by the Puerto Rican government, although reports of the actual death toll greatly differed in the wake of the storm.

The Geroge Washington University study makes Maria the deadliest storm on this top five list. Maria cost $90 billion in infrastructure damage, per NOAA, even leaving parts of the territory without potable water and in darkness for months.


In the years after the destruction, the Puerto Rican government has been plagued with corruption and the territory has struggled to revive itself. In the wake of the contentious corruption allegations, FEMA announced increased oversight for relief funds, reinstating the manual drawdown process.


This storm ravaged the Southern U.S. in 2017, costing the area a whopping $127 billion, according to NOAA. The country rallied around residents of Texas who were affected by the storm. At least 68 people died from the tropical cyclone and 36 in Houston’s Harris County alone, the most since 1919.


Arguably the most infamous hurricane to tear through continental America in modern history, Katrina divided a nation over the alleged misallocation of FEMA resources and the highly-debated federal mismanagement of the crisis, which lead Kanye West to utter his famous line about former president George Bush, saying he "doesn’t care about black people,” during a telethon. With damages around $161 billion, the August 2005 hurricane tops the list as the costliest on record in the U.S., per NOAA.

More than 1,500 people died in the storm's aftermath, according to the National Weather Service.

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