Bad Luck: Monster Hurricane Irma Could Rack Up $1 Trillion In Damages!

UPDATE 4: See animation here.

UPDATE 3: Dr. Roy Spencer thinks Miami may have averted disaster.

UPDATE 2: Euro model shows Irma eye tracking along Florida west coast. The NAM model showing eye moving along OFF west coast.

UPDATE 1: Levi Cowan of Tropical Tidbits reports at Twitter that the forecast path has shifted westward, something he calls “some good news for the Miami area”. Let’s hope for more positive developments.


All the models agree that Irma will almost certainly hit Florida directly and that it would take a miracle to divert the storm away. It’s going to hit.

A number of factors could have prevented Irma from reaching the proportions and magnitudes that it has grown to, but unfortunately luck has played against Floridians and others in the region.

The steering troughs from the High out in the Atlantic and the Low plunging down across the southeast USA could have directed the storm out to sea, if only they had been positioned just a few dozen miles differently.

Shearing could have been stronger and weakened the storm, or the storm might yet track closer to Cuba, causing it to weaken some. But that is all not to be, and this time the die came up snake eyes. Instead, all factors unfolded in total favor of Irma in almost every way possible. The result: a very powerful hurricane, one we don’t see very often.

Levi Cowan at Tropical Tidbits here explained late Thursday evening the factors driving the storm, and the likely path in the days ahead. It really couldn’t be worse and more unfortunate.

The damage is going to be great. Hurricane conditions could extend up into southern Georgia. High winds and storm surges will be widespread along all coastlines on both sides of the Florida peninsula where many metropolitan areas happen to be sitting.

Map as per 2010 US Census showing cities with a population greater than 150,000, and their respective metro areas. Image by: Comayagua99 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Damage per square mile

Florida’s area is some 65,700 square miles and has a population of nearly 19 million, most of whom living in coastal areas. Property and infrastructure are naturally concentrated there and thus the state’s metropolitan areas will see tens of millions of dollars in damage per square mile, with some places possibly seeing damages in the hundreds of millions per square mile. Like Houston did.

Especially the areas along the coast, with their ports, harbors, high-rises, transportation facilities and extensive infrastructure, will see severe damage from high winds and storm surges. Rural areas of course will see less damage per square mile.

If half (conservative) of Florida’s area (32,000 sq mi) gets hit hard by surge and/or wind conditions with an average damage of $20 million per square mile (rough estimate), then we are looking at a potential of more than $600 billion in damage for Florida alone.

Now add the damage already done in the Caribbean, plus what will happen in Georgia and beyond. We are getting close to the astronomical sum of a trillion dollars.

There is still some time to get property out of harm’s way, but it’s just about run out. Residents need to focus on getting the hell out of the way and saving their lives.

Expect hysterical and irrational demands

Expect global warming alarmists to seize on the final damage tally, no matter what it turns out to be. They’ll be hysterical, and will irrationally demand that leaders implement multi-trillion dollar “climate protection” measures mostly aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, especially CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels.

The problem with these measures, however, is that there is no evidence that they would have any impact on future hurricanes – none! Hurricanes have always occurred, and always will no matter how ecologically pious we may become.

In fact a look at the past shows that hurricane activity trends have been decreasing over the past 140 years while CO2 emissions rose:

Hurricane activity has been falling over the past 140 years. CO2 curve added by NoTricksZone (not necessarily to scale).

If climate and hurricanes are indeed related to CO2, as alarmist and activist scientists insist, then the data are telling us to emit more and not less. Of course the CO2-hurricane-activity-relationship is silly, and is no solution.

Complacency after 12 years of low activity

The best advice here would be to invest the money into better infrastructure and more sensible urban planning. That lesson was learned long ago, but obviously got forgotten along the way.

Twelve years of no major hurricane strikes and decreasing activity likely led to just a little too much complacency.


17 responses to “Bad Luck: Monster Hurricane Irma Could Rack Up $1 Trillion In Damages!”

  1. yonason

    Irma is now (6:00 AM EST) forecast to make landfall as a Cat4, and weaken to a Cat2 or lower (no longer a “major” hurricane) by the time it arrives as far North as Tampa.

    Hopefully that trend will continue, and, since I live in Florida, the weaker Irma becomes the more relieved I get.

    That said, it looks like Miami is still going to get hit pretty hard – not as hard as with Andrew in 1992, but still pretty hard.

  2. SebastianH

    The next Hurricane is not far behind. Die weather radar map looks kind of similar to the one in The Day after Tomorrow …

    If alarmists will exploit this. As well as “skeptics” exploit a single year of more SMB in Greenland … Which was largely caused by a hurricane, wasn’t it?

    1. SebastianH

      Of course not “if” (damn autocorrect)

    2. clipe
  3. RAH

    Joe Bastardi in his morning update at is saying that Irma will strengthen before it strikes the keys and Florida mainland. To quote: “it could rival what happened in 1935”. The labor day hurricane of 1935 that struck the Florida Keys is said to have been the most intense hurricane to have struck the US.

    He now has the track west of Miami.

    Joe is good with about as good of track record as you will find in forecasting hurricane tracks and strengths.

    So last night and early this morning the idea was it would be a CAT IV and Miami was in the crosshairs. Now, the European and NCEP model ensembles have it strengthening back to strong CAT V and tracking west of Miami.

  4. RAH

    Yep, now the National Hurricane Center is saying the same things as Joe did this morning. One thing people have a hard time realizing is just how big this storm and the damaging wind field is! On the projected path well over half the state of Florida will be experiencing hurricane force winds at the same time and it is projected to still be a CAT II when it is adjacent to Jacksonville so basically only the western tip of the pan handle may miss experiencing hurricane force winds. Because the storm is so big it will take many hours for it to pass and thus those winds will be persistent for hours on end. And again, going up the spin means that almost all of the state will experience wind reversal. The wind direction will shift about 180 degrees once the eye of the storm pass over or by a location. The debris blown one direction against sturdier objects will then be blown the opposite direction. This is going to very bad.

  5. La Niña setzt Texas und Indien unter Wasser: Die ENSO-Fernwirkungen sind bekannt! – wobleibtdieglobaleerwaermung

    […] Bad Luck: Monster Hurricane Irma Could Rack Up $1 Trillion In Damages! […]

  6. tom0mason

    It does not look good.
    And after hurricane Jose is forecast to hit the east coast of the USA…

  7. tom0mason

    Just a reminder —
    Even worse than the disaster that was hurricane Harvey is the number of scammers trying to make money from the awful events. As Krebs on security has it in Beware of Hurricane Harvey Relief Scams (at ) if you wish to donate —

    The FTC also warns consumers not to assume that a charity message posted on social media is a legitimate, and urges folks to research the organization before donating by visiting charity evaluation sites such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, GuideStar, or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. The agency also reminds people who wish to donate via text message to confirm the number with the source before you donate.

    krebsonsecurity site includes links to these charity evaluation sites.
    No doubt the scammers are readying themselves for the generous but misinformed to donate to them with the latest disasters.
    Is there no depths to which soulless scammers will sink?

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