Hurricane Laura Storm Surge Less Than Forecast
Hurricane Laura slammed into Louisiana early on August 27 with 150 mph winds, hitting Lake Charles before carving a destructive path all the way through western central and northern parts of the state, killing six. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state suffered widespread wind damage from the strong Category 4 storm but was spared what had been forecast to be a deadly storm surge catastrophe. Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunger said of his city that it looked like a bomb went off in some neighborhoods. Even though the storm surge from Laura fell below the forecast, there were areas in Acadiana that were flooded as the Gulf of Mexico pushed inland.
An analyst report anticipates that insured losses from Hurricane Laura should be “very manageable” for insurers, with an estimated $8 billion of losses, as the Category 4 storm skirted a direct hit on either Houston or New Orleans. CoreLogic estimates that insured wind and storm surge damage to homes and businesses in Louisiana from the storm would range between $8 billion and $12 billion. “It’s too early to credibly estimate industrywide or company-specific insured losses, but we expect overall losses to remain very manageable (even assuming that COVID-19 adds some costs) since Laura didn’t directly hit Houston or New Orleans,” wrote KBW analyst Meyer Shields.