Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

As Emergency Response Underway, Early Estimates Tally Michael’s Damages in the Billions

The NOAA National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported on Friday that Michael weakened to a post tropical cyclone that has moved into the Atlantic and away from the U.S. coastline. While the storm has now passed, the effects of Michael have been catastrophic for many communities in the Southeast. Michael has left some communities “flattened,” particularly Mexico Beach, Florida which is being described as “ground zero for hurricane damage” by some officials, but many communities are “damaged beyond recognition.”

Search and rescue efforts have begun in many of the Florida Panhandle communities, with road crews working to clear paths to local hospitals to provide immediate care, but some roads still remain impassable.  Many communities are still without power, running water, and some are still cut off from emergency response efforts. FEMA Administrator Brock Long cautioned on Friday morning that, “it’s still not safe to return” to some of the hardest hit communities since some areas still have hazardous conditions and there is a lack of infrastructure for emergency support. Initial tolls of fatalities related to the storm have been reported, with Administrator Long anticipating the count will continue to rise as emergency responders begin to work through storm debris.

The assessment of the impact of Michael is only just beginning. On Friday morning, in an article titled “One Mile of Devastation in Florida,” The New York Times profiled Mexico Beach and assessed damages along a 1.2-mile stretch, “Of 440 buildings we could identify, 237, or 54 percent, were destroyed and 99, or 23 percent, were severely damaged — almost all of these were homes.” Very preliminary estimates have put Michaels damages in the billions of dollars range, even higher when accounting for insured losses.


For those impacted by Michael or looking for ways to provide support, please consider the links below:

  • FEMA Assistance: Link
  • Ways to Help Victims of Hurricane Michael: Link
  • National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster: Link

Hagerty Consulting is an emergency management consulting firm that helps clients prepare for and recover from disasters. Established in 2001, Hagerty’s work includes some of the nation’s largest recovery and preparedness projects in more than 30 states, including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy. The firm is (and has been) consistently recognized throughout the industry for its innovative thinking, client-centric service, and the superior results it delivers to every project. Hagerty professionals reside in all 10 FEMA regions; the firm’s offices are in Evanston, Illinois (corporate headquarters); Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C. Learn more about how our Recovery and Preparedness Divisions can help you this hurricane season.