Visualization: How does Hurricane Irene compare to other hurricanes?

How does Hurricane Irene compare to other hurricanes (and other natural disasters)? It turns out, Hurricane Irene is average.

Hurricane Irene caused an estimated $7 billion in damages . It may seem like a lot, but when compared to the cost of natural disasters over the last 20 years, it's just average.

Using NOAA data, Tableau took every disaster in the last two decades and visualized it so you can compare the financial costs or number of deaths and map it against a certain type of disaster (hurricane, tornado, flood, blizzard, drought, fire, or all of the above).

I used the visualization and zoomed in to see what's been happening since 2004. The cost of Hurricane Katrina was $145 billion and caused 1,833 deaths. As you'll notice in the image above, Katrina is the dot way up at the top along 2005. By comparison, Irene cost $7 billion and caused 21 deaths.

Irene is average (the median damage caused by a hurricane is about $6.9 billion).

What's interesting is that if you plot the number of deaths against the hurricanes, the visualization looks the same. That's because the financial cost is proportional to the number of deaths (not including Katrina though).

But you can play around with the visualization yourself and draw your own conclusions:

via Tableau

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