Hurricane Idalia caused billions of dollars in damage, but the price tag won’t be nearly as high as other major hurricanes, Moody’s Analytics said Thursday.
According to preliminary cost estimates from Moody’s, Hurricane Idalia caused between $12 billion and $20 billion in damage and lost output.
For context, Hurricane Ian, which made landfall in Western Florida last year as a Category 4 storm, caused an estimated $112.9 billion of total damage in the United States, according to the National Hurricane Center. That made it the third-costliest US hurricane on record.
The damage this time would have been greater if not for two factors: The relatively fast speed Idalia moved through the region and where it made landfall.
“Unlike other recent events, the bulk [of the cost] comes not from a handful of counties that were decimated but instead a large, multi-state area experiencing significant but not catastrophic damage,” Adam Kamins, director of regional economics at Moody’s Analytics, wrote in a report on Thursday.
Kamins said it was “fortuitous” that the storm made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend, a region that has fewer people and structures than other places that have been hit by major natural disasters.
Not only that, but Kamins notes that property values in the Big Bend are lower than the rest of the state. That is also suppressing damage estimates.
“Idalia may not go down in history as an especially costly event, but as climate change leads to more frequent storms that can intensify rapidly, events like it will grow more common over time,” Kamins wrote in the report.
Moody’s RMS plans to release official estimates of insured losses in the next two weeks.