The impact of hurricanes on local businesses.

Severe weather hero image of the damage caused by a hurricane

The impact of hurricanes on local businesses.

Severe weather hero image of the damage caused by a hurricane

  • How many businesses permanently shut down due to different hurricanes:
    • We identified the number of businesses that stopped transacting entirely during the hurricane, and didn’t transact again within 90 days after (this wouldn’t capture any business that would have re-opened after 90 days.)
  • How much was revenue impacted during different hurricanes in our analysis:
    • We identified typical seasonal revenue trends nationwide in each industry, and compared the revenue at businesses in our analysis to see if (and by how much) revenue fell above or below the expected seasonal range in the days immediately prior and following the hurricanes in question.

We analyzed the following hurricanes for this report: Hurricane Dorian, Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Michael.

Comparing the impact of different hurricanes on certain types of local businesses.


Hurricanes are one of the most destructive weather events on the planet, and hurricane season appears to only get longer and more severe every year.

Hurricanes cut a wide geographic path of massive damage caused by high winds, flying debris, and heavy flooding. Any one of which on its own can be catastrophic to a local business, let alone combined together in a single event.

Hurricanes are also unique to the events in this analysis simply in the sheer size and scale of the event, as they often sweep through several states, hitting some much harder than others.

With that in mind, we wanted to see how hurricanes affected specific types of local businesses, and how they compared and contrasted.

We’ll start with a “zoomed out” view first, then drill into a more detailed view.

How many businesses permanently closed due to different major hurricanes?


As a major hurricane bears down on a given region, you can expect many, if not most, local businesses to temporarily close their doors. At least until the worst of the storm is past.

The sad reality is that some businesses are so badly damaged (physically, financially, or both) by major hurricanes that they shut down and never open back up again.

In order to determine how many businesses were permanently closed during each hurricane, we identified business that stopped transacting and then didn’t process another transaction within 90 days after the event.

Hurricane Irma had the largest overall impact, with close to 12% of local businesses across all categories in our analysis closing.

28% of food and beverage shops in our analysis (grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, etc.) shut down, making it the most heavily affected industry during Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Harvey was the next most destructive hurricane in our analysis. 9% of businesses permanently closed during the event, with restaurants and quick-serve food and beverage businesses being hit the hardest.

How much was average revenue at local businesses impacted during individual hurricanes?


As we saw in the section above, hurricanes can have a widespread impact on businesses, even those that may be well clear of the storm’s path of destruction. In this section, we’ll examine those businesses that were able to remain open and transacting and see how revenue was impacted during each hurricane.

Our analysis identified when, after the beginning of an individual hurricane, average revenue at open businesses deviated from what was otherwise expected.

The table below shows how much revenue was impacted (negatively or positively) on average throughout the affected period.

An important note: these figures represent average revenue at businesses that were able to remain open and transacting.

Impact on revenue
Length of impact

Change in revenue during and immediately after the weather event vs. typical seasonal averages

Number of days revenue was above or below seasonal expectations during and after the weather event

As you can see, some hurricanes appeared to be far more destructive to local economies than others. Hurricane Harvey, for example, appeared to have a much longer-lasting negative impact on multiple local business industries than did Hurricane Michael.

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More details by industry type / hurricane


Select an industry in the table below to see more details on the impact of different hurricanes on that industry:

Details by industry type
Arts And Entertainment
Auto Services
Bars And Lounges
Food And Beverage Shops
Health And Beauty
Local Services
Lodging Places
Pet Services
Quick Serve Food And Beverage
Restaurants
Retail And Wholesale
Sports And Recreation Places
Details by hurricane
Dorian
Florence
Harvey
Irma
Michael

Timeline: how long did it take for local business revenue to return to normal after each hurricane?


Now, let’s take a closer look at how much revenue was impacted during each hurricane in our analysis, and how long it took for revenue to get back to “normal.”

Select an industry

Arts And Entertainment
Auto Services
Bars And Lounges
Food And Beverage Shops
Health And Beauty
Local Services
Lodging Places
Pet Services
Quick Serve Food And Beverage
Restaurants
Retail And Wholesale
Sports And Recreation Places

Select a hurricane

Dorian
Florence
Harvey
Irma
Michael

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