John Wheeler: This season's Atlantic hurricane statistics are average, and also much worse
The Accumulated Cyclone Energy index this season was 22% lower than average.
FARGO — The Atlantic Basin tropical storm and hurricane season has finally wound down. The basic statistics: 14 storms, eight hurricanes and three Category 3 or stronger hurricanes, are spot-on average over the last 30 years. Another measure, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index this season was 22% lower than average. However, more important is the fact that Hurricane Ian caused more than $50 billion in damage and killed at least 150 people by delivering its worst to the heavily populated area around Fort Myers, Florida.
As the Sun Belt's population continues to explode, these high-impact hurricanes will continue to become increasingly expensive for all of us simply because a higher percentage of us live where these destructive storms hit. None of this even takes into consideration the rising and warming ocean of the future due to human-caused climate change.