Assessing the cost of the storm

Published on April 5th, 2021

Although spring is just in its infancy, a group of AccuWeather meteorologists has been focusing on a different time of year: hurricane season. And based on current weather data as well as long-range climate clues, the forecasters are urging residents in traditional hurricane-prone areas of the United States to make their preparations now.

So what does the 2021 season have in store? According to AccuWeather forecasters, another busy year is in the cards, albeit one that will turn out a bit less hectic than 2020’s nonstop season.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season set multiple records while producing a record 30 named storms. There were so many that the list of 21 conventional names was exhausted and the Greek alphabet was used for only the second time. The season also saw the second-highest number of hurricanes on record after 13 of the storms reached hurricane status.

One of those storms, Hurricane Delta which made landfall in southwestern Louisiana, about 11 miles from where the devastating Hurricane Laura hit a little more than a month earlier, cost $2.9 billion in the United States and was linked to six deaths in the U.S. and Mexico, according to a report from the National Hurricane Center.

The Center releases similar reports on every named storm that hits during a season. The reports on some of the 2020 season’s most devastating hurricanes – including Laura, Iota and Zeta – have yet to be published.

In the United States, two people died as a direct result of Delta — a 19-year-old woman and a 49-year-old man who both drowned in rip currents near Destin, Florida — and there were two indirect deaths associated with electrocutions and fires. In Mexico, there were two indirect deaths — an electrocution and a fall — linked to the hurricane.

The Center classifies deaths as direct or indirect. Direct deaths are those considered directly tied to the storm such as drowning in storm surge or being in a house that collapses from wind. Someone who dies of a heart attack during a storm or is electrocuted by a downed power line, for example, is considered an indirect death.

The hurricane came ashore as a Category 2 storm with winds of 97 miles per hour (156 miles per hour) and produced a storm surge that got up to nine feet (2.7 meters) in some areas east of where it made landfall near Creole, the report said.

While Laura’s earlier damage came through devastating winds, Delta produced huge rain totals in some areas particularly between Lake Charles and Alexandria. Nearly 18 inches of rain fell in LeBleu Settlement northeast of Lake Charles, the report said.

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