But governments are annually spending large sums in preparation for disasters like Matthew and the 1,000-year flood, which inundated South Carolina 12 months earlier.
Matthew caused approximately $10 billion in damage in the United States, according to multiple reports of an early estimate by the investment banking firm, Goldman Sachs.
That makes Matthew the 22nd most expensive storm, measured in property damage.
Hurricane Katrina, the costliest tropical storm from 1900 to 2010, caused $108 billion in damage, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 2016 guidelines encourage states to mitigate risk in preparation for an increase storms resulting, they say, from climate change.
Under the fiscal year 2016 budget, $90 million in pre-disaster mitigation grants was available to states, tribal territories and local governments.
South Carolina’s annual budget for emergency preparedness is approximately $20 million in total funds, nearly $1.5 million of which comes from the general fund.
Governments and non-profit organizations in 18 counties are eligible for partial reimbursement grants by FEMA covering infrastructure damaged by Matthew. Those counties are Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Colleton, Dillion, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Lee, Marion, Orangeburg, Sumter and Williamsburg, according to a Wednesday news release by Gov. Nikki Haley’s office.
Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Darlington and Marlboro counties are currently only eligible for grants for debris removal and emergency protective measures.
The federal share covers up to 75 percent of eligible costs.
In South Carolina to date, Hurricane Matthew caused—
-25 breached dams, including 20 dams regulated by the Department of Health and Environmental Control
-left 861,000 without power
-at least four weather-related fatalities
-closed 481 roads