2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season: A Look Back
As we look back at the year and the devastating impacts of hurricanes, two things are clear: (1) despite a quick season, this was one of the most expensive years on record; and (2) while 2020 set new hurricane records, 2021 came very close to doing it again. In fact, in just a few months, hurricanes caused more than $70 billion in damage.
How many hurricanes hit the US in 2021?
2021 is the second year in a row that we’ve experienced a record number of hurricanes impacting the United States. According to NOAA, one to two hurricane landfalls is average. In 2020, there were six; in 2021, there were four. That’s especially concerning when we consider tropical storms, too: 2021 had 21 named tropical storms, the third most in history.
What was different about this year’s hurricane season?
This year’s hurricanes were especially difficult because they came at a time when many communities were still in the process of recovering from last year’s. Many homeowners experienced the worst storms of their lifetimes last year, only to get hit by storms nearly as bad a year later.
What the data shows
As you consider the impacts of each 2021 hurricane, remember that for many Americans this was the second time they were faced with life-threatening weather disasters in a 12-month period.
The first hurricane of the year developed on July 2 and pummeled the Caribbean before making landfall on the west coast of Florida on July 7. In Barbados, wind gusts as fast as 86 mph were recorded. In Florida, one person was killed; in Georgia, ten people were wounded when Elsa flipped multiple recreational vehicles. Hurricane Elsa persisted until July 13.
Hurricane Grace made landfall in Veracruz, Mexico and lasted for nine days. It caused flash flooding, left eight dead, and prompted Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to deploy civil protection elements. The hurricane left thousands without power and damaged buildings and trees.
Category 1: 75 mph winds
Damages: $12 billion
Hurricane Henri affected much of the Northeastern United States. New Jersey and the New York City metro area were the hardest hit, but all of New England felt the impact. And like most hurricanes, Henri left incredible rainfall in its aftermath hundreds of miles away.
The worst hurricane of the season, Ida spawned multiple EF2 tornadoes which caused heavy damage in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and even to the New York City transportation system. Ida’s 150-mph winds meant that it tied only two other landfall hurricanes for the strongest on record in Louisiana.
Category 3: 125 mph
Damages: $80 million
Hurricane Larry primarily affected Newfoundland, Canada, damaging local schools, hospitals, and public spaces. It left thousands without power, and destroyed buildings, homes, and even cathedrals. Damage to city roadways was so intense that the Mayor of Newfoundland asked residents to avoid non-essential travel.
Hurricane Nicholas formed on the western side of the Gulf of Mexico but connected with the upper Texas coast. It created storm surges and flash flooding in the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast and left millions of Texans without power. In addition to the record rains in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, it also triggered a sinkhole.
Although Hurricane Sam was the longest hurricane of the season at 11 days, it stayed over the Atlantic Ocean and never made landfall. It now holds the record for the longest continuous stretch as a Category 3 hurricane since hurricane Ivan in 2004.
2021 gave us many reasons to consider flood insurance
Remember that your clients don’t need to live in a hurricane-prone area to benefit from the coverage provided by flood insurance. From 2015 to 2019, 40% of NFIP claims were for properties located in mid- to low-risk flood zones. The storms detailed above certainly battered the coasts, but their impacts could be felt far inland, as well.
This article is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide individualized advice. All descriptions, summaries or highlights of coverage are for general informational purposes only and do not amend, alter or modify the actual terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Coverage is governed only by the terms and conditions of the relevant policy.
If your clients experienced the damaging effects of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, have you spoken with them about preparing for what may come in 2022? With all the changes brought about by Risk Rating 2.0, perhaps now is the time to have a conversation about EZ Flood and what it can do for them.