How Do Hurricanes Damage The Economy?

Hurricanes are natural disasters that damage our economy with predictable and surprise events. Here is a shortlist of the economic impact of hurricanes.

When major power lines are down, it can interrupt eCommerce and even emergency response. Flash flooding can inundate retail stores, office centers, and critical response team headquarters. Storm surges often threaten homes, roadways, and essential infrastructures like piers and port storage facilities. 

Obtaining up-to-the-second accurate weather data can mean the difference between salvaging a construction site and losing millions of dollars of materials and labor hours.

DTN helps you lower your financial losses during hurricane season through preparedness and leading-edge weather forecasting technology. 

Contact DTN to discover how you can optimize your hurricane responsiveness. With our systems and support, you can shield yourself and those you represent from monumental storm loss.

Palms trees blowng with leaves scattered on ground

Record-Setting Hurricane Seasons Result In Unprecedented Losses

America’s extensive coastline indeed means superior accessibility for shipping, receiving, tourism, and international trade. Unfortunately, so much coastal territory contributes to the economic damage caused in the face of a hurricane.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) reports that up to 40% of domestic jobs and 46% of the GDP originate from the nation’s expansive coastal regions. 

Just one Category 3 hurricane that ravages the coastline could result in financial loss that can be massive at best and catastrophic at worst. The hurricane seasons have become increasingly costly over the last five years, causing financial loss to total over twenty billion per year.

Further, hurricane seasons will likely get worse with our changing climate. Conservative storm loss projections in the next 50 years could reach above 35 billion dollars in materials, wages, and economic interruptions.

The takeaway from all the climate and weather data is more named storms each hurricane season. Plus, a higher percentage of those storms become hurricanes with winds at or above 74 mph. 

Staying ahead of the storm forecasts and climate trends will be crucial for storm preparedness and financial loss mitigation.


Hurricanes Pack A Strong And Unpredictable Economic Punch

Named tropical storms produce several damage-inducing conditions that can amplify economic losses and interruptions. Though we know the general make-up of most storms (like high winds, heavy rain, and storm surges), it’s the particulars that get in the way of your optimized mitigation strategy.

For example, everyone understands that hurricanes bring high winds. Most coastal regions know that the difference between Category 1 and Category 3 storms is the wind speed (95 mph vs. 129 mph, respectively). 

It’s harder to predict how long the gale-force winds will batter a region, how much rain the storm will drop, or how many hours a storm will linger over any stretch of land. 

A Category 1 hurricane does cause fewer power outages and less property damage. But, if that storm remains active for an extended period in one locale, the hurricane damage to the economy can worsen.

Even a lower-category storm can still produce massive storm surges, rainfall, and regional flooding. Floods can halt the entire economy of the towns and cities they affect indefinitely with washed-out roads and bridges, ruined brick-and-mortars, and Internet access loss. 

Other economic operations affected by hurricanes and their associated weather anomalies include:

  • Inventory loss
  • Hurricane property damage
  • Infrastructure damage or loss
  • Clean-up and repair costs
  • Day-to-day business operations in various industry sectors in the storm-affected areas
  • The “butterfly” effect of supply-chain interruptions on manufacturing and distribution
  • Injury to community members and loss of life

Palm trees blowing in storm in front of resort

How To Stay Ahead Of The Hurricane Economic Loss Curve

Preventing economic hurricane damage begins with the best data you can procure in high-stakes weather emergencies. 

Though most weather forecasts connect you with a storm’s cumulative wind, rain, and surge predictions, you need extensive detail to enact effective loss prevention plans. Thankfully, you can now obtain micro-forecasting in advance of the storm and when the wind begins blowing.

Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of planning professionals who must remain flexible during storm season to maintain smooth economic flow:

  • Utility companies
  • Construction company leaders and owners
  • Emergency preparedness teams at the city, state, and federal levels
  • Red Cross and other humanitarian organization leaders
  • Shipping and oil rig owners and managers
  • Manufacturing facility leadership
  • Small business owners protecting their staff and property
  • eCommerce professionals relying on connectivity
  • Regional and national airline management
  • Farmers and related ag industry local leaders
  • Hospital leadership and public health professionals


Which Data Tools Will Help You The Most With Hurricane Economic Damage?

Defining the type of weather and storm data that will help you maintain uninterrupted operations depends on your industry. 

If your team ensures bridge and tunnel readiness in the face of impending floods and storm surges, you’ll need immediate and long-term data to inform your response. 

In this example, immediate forecasting can help you decide on precise road closures to ensure your local population’s safety. 

Enabling a laser-focused decision in-the-moment can help you keep driving routes open as conditions change. After the storm ends, those routes can be vital in mitigating economic losses city and county-wide.

Plus, gathering long-term weather forecasts can help you target your hurricane preparedness efforts before the storm arrives.

In another scenario, using accurate weather data can help you stock up on critical manufacturing components and choose alternative shipping routes. You’ll need flexible production plans ahead of surging seas and commerce strategy-scuttling winds.

Essentially, staying ultra-current on accurate weather data can help you move your operations where the storm isn’t, temporarily. Concurrently, you can help ensure the safety and security of your workforce. Launching storm-resistant building improvements and alternative workforce shift schedules during the local hurricane season help mitigate economic loss.

Ultimately, gathering the data, you need when you need it allows you to remain nimble when the elements are beyond your control. If you can ride out the worst of the storm and then return to your organization as soon as the skies clear, you’ve won in hurricane season.

Storm over the ocean

DTN Helps You Come Out On Top Of A Hurricane Economy

DTN partners with a wide variety of industry professionals with our state-of-the-art weather forecasting technology. From utilities to airports (and many stops along the way), we help reduce downtime after storms and increase economic “normalcy” despite worsening storm seasons.

Contact DTN today to discover how our leading-edge weather data can work for you during hurricane season and all year long.