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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

A Storm to Remember:
Hurricane Harvey and the Texas Economy

Appendix 1: Major Hurricanes in Texas and the U.S. —
A Historical Perspective

In a typical year, about 100 storms and tropical disturbances develop in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Some of these turn into tropical storms, and on average, two each year become hurricanes that make landfall in the U.S.40 Between 1851 and 2016, 289 hurricanes affected the continental U.S. Of these, 63 made landfall in Texas.41

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with most storms making landfall during August and September.42 In Texas, these storms make landfall on the Gulf Coast, generally moving north or northeast through the state.

Major Texas Hurricanes

The Galveston hurricane of 1900, a Category 4 storm, was the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, bringing a 15-foot storm surge and winds of more than 135 mph. The hurricane killed between 6,000 and 12,000 and brought damages totaling about $881 million in 2017 dollars.43

Since then, Texas has been affected by 20 more major hurricanes (classified as Category 3 or higher).44 Exhibit 5 lists major hurricanes that have made landfall in Texas since the early 1950s, when the U.S. National Hurricane Center began naming each storm.

Costliest U.S. Storms

Of course, hurricanes and other major storms affect the entire country, not just the Gulf Coast. Exhibit 6 lists the most destructive storms affecting the U.S. in the last half-century.

Hurricane Katrina, which caused $161.3 billion in damages, still ranks as the costliest storm in American history; Hurricane Harvey is expected to rank second, with total estimated damages of about $125 billion.45

Exhibit 5: Major Hurricanes Affecting Texas Since 1957 (Category 3 or higher)

Storm Name Year Category at Landfall
Audrey 1957 4
Carla 1961 4
Beulah 1967 3
Celia 1970 3
Allen 1980 3
Alicia 1983 3
Bret 1999 3
Rita 2005 3
Harvey 2017 4

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Exhibit 6: Top 15 Costliest Storms in the U.S. since 1980

Storm Name Year Category at Landfall Damage*(Billions)
Katrina 2005 3 $161.3
Harvey 2017 4 $125.0
Maria 2017 4 $90.0
Sandy 2012 Tropical Storm $70.9
Irma 2017 4 $50.0
Andrew 1992 5 $48.3
Ike 2008 2 $35.1
Ivan 2004 3 $27.3
Wilma 2005 3 $24.5
Rita 2005 3 $23.9
Charley 2004 4 $21.3
Hugo 1989 4 $18.4
Irene 2011 1 $15.1
Frances 2004 2 $13.0
Allison 2001 Tropical Storm $12.0

*Dollar amounts represent the 2017 Consumer Price Index cost-adjusted value.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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