As we reach mid-November, Florida’s hurricane season is drawing to a close. According to USA Today, the 2017 hurricane season has been worse than usual with three major storms, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, causing multiple deaths and widespread destruction. The 2017 hurricane season will be remembered for the devastation it caused across the Caribbean and U.S. territories. On the U.S. mainland, Florida and Texas faced widespread destruction in the wake of Irma and Harvey respectively.
With widespread reports of the damage that Hurricane Harvey caused in East Texas and the devastation of parts of the Florida Keys by Hurricane Irma, you might be surprised by claims as to who bore the brunt of this year’s hurricane season.
According to Florida Today, the Florida boating community was hardest hit by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. They claim that, between them, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma destroyed over 63,000 recreational boats. It is estimated that over 50,000 of these vessels were destroyed when Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys and the state’s Gulf coast. Hurricane Harvey was responsible for damage to over 13,500 vessels when it hit Texas in August.
According to the head of claims in the BoatUS marine insurance program, Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma caused damage valued at an estimated $650 million to the boating community. Rick Wilson explained that the pattern of damage to boating was very different in Florida than in Texas. The damage caused to leisure vessels in Texas centered on a narrow swath of coastline. In Florida, the damage to boats was much more widespread.
As explained in the Insurance Business magazine, Wilson points out that the damage to leisure boats would have been more severe had Hurricane Irma taken its predicted path up the East coast of Florida. Major cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach would then have been in the path of the storm. The fact that Hurricane Irma changed course and lost some of its ferocity before hitting Florida means that the damage was much less than it might have been.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Florida has fully recovered from the 2017 hurricane season. As reported by Star Tribune, most of the tourist areas in Florida are operating, but the damage caused by Irma is still very visible in some areas. Around Everglades City, whole trailer parks were washed away by Hurricane Irma and mountains of rubble and domestic appliances can be seen as they await the cleanup operation.
The Florida economy is heavily reliant on the tourist industry, so Floridians will be keen to see the cleanup complete. They will be even more keen to see the return of tourists when the 2017 hurricane season ends.
[Featured Image by Alan Diaz/AP Images]