Hurricane Sandy, Comparing Storm Damages

As the Northeast recovers from the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, questions are being raised about the damage as compared to Hurricane Katrina. While Sandy is our most recent dilemma, Katrina may have left the biggest wound. The only way to know for sure is to look at the numbers.

Hurricane Sandy, the so-called “Frankenstorm,” certainly covered the most ground. Affecting more than twenty states, about 130 people were killed and millions of people were left without power as winter storms approached. At the very least, Sandy ranks among the most deadly hurricanes to hit the east coast and is one of the costliest at over $60 billion, second only to Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina, meanwhile, resulted in the deaths of nearly 2,000 people and caused over $100 billion in damages, flooding most of New Orleans. Not only did Katrina claim the most lives, it potentially caused the most far-reaching economic damage of the two.

Still, neither can compete with Hurricane Mitch from 1992, which caused nearly 20,000 deaths in the Central American region before reaching Florida, though only causing $6 billion in damages. If anything, this shows how we’ve improved in disaster preparation and relief over the past twenty years as the number of deaths has significantly lessened.

The intensifying of hurricanes over the last few years is the result of the warming climate, or perhaps simply a run of bad luck. Either way, we’ve been forced to learn how to take care of our hurt and how to better prepare ourselves the hard way. With any hope our disaster preparation will continue to improve and fewer people will lose their lives.

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