Hurricane Irma, the strongest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, has already devastated swaths of the Caribbean, leaving a growing number of people dead and doing a yet-incalculable amount of property damage.
Currently just north of the Dominican Republic, Irma is expected to strike Florida over the weekend. It could make landfall in the U.S. as a Category 5 hurricane — and just weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated southeast Texas.
Irma and Harvey are already expected to result in some of the most expensive destruction ever recorded by hurricanes hitting the United States. AccuWeather predicts that when the final figures are in, Harvey will go down as the costliest weather disaster in U.S. history. Meanwhile, Irma's economic impact will depend on how exactly the storm strikes Florida, according to Dan Kottlowski, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather. While powerful hurricanes from the Atlantic have inflicted damage, death and destruction in the U.S. and in the Caribbean for centuries, their costliness does not necessarily correlate with their strength, he says.
"We've entered a time in history where we have really put a lot of expensive homes and expensive structures along our coastal areas, and that in itself is the reason why the cost has gone up dramatically," says Kottlowski. "It's not necessarily because the hurricanes are that much stronger, but because we have put too many things in harm's way."
AccuWeather says the costliest hurricane to hit the U.S. was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which did $108 billion in damage. Take a look at the gallery above to see the rest of the 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history. (The figures include damage done in all countries affected by each storm. Harvey and Irma were not included because their final impacts are not yet known.)