• 2017 was one of the costliest years for weather disasters in Georgia

    By: Katie Walls


    The government issued four Major Disaster Declarations in Georgia in 2017.

    Deputy Insurance Commissioner, Jay Florence, says this is one of the costliest years for weather-disasters the state has ever seen.

    “It’s been an expensive year. We had over a billion dollars worth of damage,” he told Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Katie Walls.

    Deadly tornadoes in January
    Deadly tornadoes in January

    In January, two rounds of severe weather produced tornadoes in Middle and South Georgia.

    “One of those was about $30 Million. The second was around $100 Million,” Florence said.

    Then, the West Mims fire started April 6, when a lightning strike sparked a flame in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in south Georgia.

    That fire, which burned for months, scorched more than 150-thousand acres.

    In September, Hurricane Irma, then Tropical Storm, struck the Peach State with hours of wind gusts greater than 40 mph, downing thousands of trees state-wide, leaving 1.5 million power customers in the dark. 

    “If you look at Hurricane Irma, our estimates are that there was at least $700 Million and about 140,000 claims that were filed across the state,” said Florence.

    Hurricane Irma knocks down trees in September
    Hurricane Irma knocks down trees in September

    Irma marked the first time a Major Disaster Declaration was issued for the entire state.

    “It’s absolutely abnormal. In my time at the department this has been one of the most significant weather years that I’ve seen,” said Florence. 

    He recommends reviewing your insurances policies over the holiday break to prepare for what’s to come in 2018.

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