Study shows Hurricane Matthew has the potential to be the costliest hurricane in U.S. history

Published: Oct. 7, 2016 at 11:03 AM EDT
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Friday, Oct. 7, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Hurricane Matthew has the potential to be the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, according to the director of Business and Economic Research at Ball State University in Indiana.

In a statement, Micheal Hicks said a new report showed Hurricane Matthew could cause as much as $269 billion in damages, just in the state of Florida.

Hicks said property damage to Florida's coast could exceed 2005's Hurricane Katrina, which cost an estimated $156 billion then, or roughly $190 billion today. Hicks conducted the study with Mark Burton, an economics professor at the University of Tennessee.

Hurricane Matthew will be a historically catastrophic storm that will be talked about for decades to come, according to Hicks. He goes on to say that the study focused on Florida and the costs of the storm could jump if there is significant damage to the inland part of the state.

The storm could also have a long-term impact on Florida's tourism industry, according to Hicks. He also mentioned that the costs could skyrocket if the hurricane hits other southern states such as Georgia and South Carolina in the next day or so.

Hicks also noted that when Matthew hits the coast, it would be the first major Category 3 or higher hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland since Wilma in 2005.

To estimate the potential economic consequences associated with Hurricane Matthew, Hicks said he and Burton used their analysis of Hurricane Katrina. Hicks said the analysis included a flood damage assessment model to estimate the storm surge damage in Katrina's wake.

The analysis later concluded that the estimates were very close to the final cost of the hurricane, according to Hicks.