Houston Matters

A Collective Sigh Of Relief As The 2017 Hurricane Season Ends

Potentially the worst hurricane season on record comes to a merciful close today.

Americans across the country, especially those in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico, are breathing a sigh of relief as the 2017 hurricane season comes to an end today. 

The three disastrous storms we faced this year, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, are estimated to cost more than $206 billion in economic impact. If this estimate holds true after the Federal Government’s tally, released early 2018, this will be the costliest hurricane season in history.

MORE: Recapping Hurricane Season And Studying Disaster Funding

You can review Houston Public Media’s Hurricane Harvey photo gallery below.

2017 had already been marred by costly weather disasters before the season even started, and the recovery effort is still ongoing.

Thursday was the deadline to apply for assistance from FEMA, which so far has paid out more than $2 billion in disaster assistance. The National Flood Insurance Program has paid out more than $6.3 billion.

Now Congress is discussing supplemental allocations for long-term recovery. Kyle Shelton is with Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

“And that’ll be things like community development block grant disaster recovery funding from the Housing and Urban Development. It is the $61 billion ‘ask’ that will be to things like the U.S. Corps of Engineers — systemic requests for larger projects like infrastructure. And then FEMA and SBA really do deal a lot with individuals.”

Shelton told “Houston Matters” that aid also comes from local and philanthropic sources.

“We saw the City of Houston use its contingency fund for some of the debris cleanup, and then once you get through all of the public funding, that’s where philanthropy really comes into play as well, because you can start to see where there had been gaps.”

The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund has given $36 million in donations to 90 non-profit organizations helping flood victims in Harris County.

 

2017 ties the record year of 2011 for the most (15) billion-dollar disasters for the year to date.

The record number of billion-dollar disasters for an entire calendar year is 16 events set in 2011. The 2017 events include two floods, a freeze, seven severe storms, three tropical cyclones, a drought and wildfire – collectively causing 282 fatalities going beyond just the hurricane season.

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