Hurricane Watch

We still don’t know the exact track Hurricane Irma will take, but most forecasts have it coming close to a direct hit on Miami or nearby environs. There has been talk over the years of what a Cat 5 hurricane strike on Miami might do, mostly because the Miami area has built up so much since the last time it received a direct hit almost 90 years ago, when the population was tiny. The New York Times reminds us with this photo:

Here’s a table of the largest hurricanes to hit Florida over the last century—Irma looks poised to be larger and stronger than any on this list (see the second photo below):

Hurricane Andrew (top, 1992) compared to Irma

[UPDATE: Roy Spencer thinks the previous photo I had here was incorrect; I’ve substituted this one at his recommendation.]

The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip, using figures from Roger Pielke Jr, offers a comparison:

There has been talk, ever since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, of a “super-cat” (meaning super-catastrophe event) that would place severe strain on our insurance system, to which should be added that I recall seeing a number of stories over the last few years that Florida’s state-run hurricane insurance program is just like a public pension: underfunded compared to potential liabilities.

The financial markets seem to have taken note of this, as shown in this series of charts from the people at The WSJ’s Daily Shot:

I expect, like banks in 2008, that the bigger the financial catastrophe, the more likely there will be a bailout from the world’ ultimate re-insurer: the federal government.

Meanwhile, the impact of Harvey on the oil supply chain is evident in the data:

I know Power Line has a lot of readers in south Florida, and we wish you good luck and safety over the next 48 hours. Send us news if you are able.

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