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Harvey tipped to be among costliest US disasters

Hurricane Harvey will cost at least “tens of billions” of dollars in economic losses, making it one of the US’ most expensive natural disasters, according to Impact Forecasting.

The Aon Benfield subsidiary’s monthly Global Catastrophe Recap says losses paid by private insurers and the National Flood Insurance Program will exceed $US10 billion ($12.4 billion).

Houston, the fourth-largest US city, bore the brunt of the Category 4 storm after it made landfall in Texas on August 25.

“Hurricane Harvey’s landfall… officially put an end to the 11-year major hurricane drought,” Impact Meteorologist Steve Bowen said. “The impacts from the cyclone were far-reaching and the scope of flood damage in Houston was historic.

“Given the anticipated costs from direct damage and business interruption, it is expected that Harvey will be recorded as one of the costliest natural disasters on record in the US.”

Powerful storms also hit parts of Asia last month, including Hong Kong and Macau, and the preliminary damage caused by Typhoon Hato was about $US3 billion ($3.7 billion).

In Europe, strong thunderstorms in several Austrian states and Italian Alpine valleys caused economic losses of more than $US138 million ($171 million), but insurable losses were expected to be lower.

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