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Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters, 1980–2013

Source: National Climatic Data Center

The U.S. has sustained 151 weather-related disasters since 1980 in which overall damages and costs reached or exceeded $1 billion at the time of the event. Twelve occurred during 2011 alone—the most for any year on record, with total costs being approximately $52 billion. In 2013, there were seven disasters where overall damages exceeded $1 billion.

Two damage figures are given for events prior to 2002: the first represents actual dollar costs and is not adjusted for inflation. The second (in parentheses) is the dollar cost normalized to 2002 dollars using a GNP inflation/wealth index. The total normalized losses for the 99 events are over $725 billion.

Sources include Storm Data (NCDC publication), the National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, other U.S. government agencies, individual state emergency management agencies, state and regional climate centers, and insurance industry estimates.

2013 Severe Weather in Southeast (March 18, 2013); a severe storm hit four states (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee) in the Southeast. Ten tornadoes were confirmed. One person was killed. Much of the damage came from hail and wind.
Severe Weather in Midwest (April 7–11, 2013); a severe storm struck four states (Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri) in the Midwest. A total of 26 tornadoes were confirmed. One person was killed. Much of the damage came from hail and wind.
Tornadoes Hit Midwest, Plains, East Coast (May 18–22, 2013); an enormous category 4 tornado touched down in Oklahoma City, Moore, and Newcastle. Moore was the hardest hit. The city's Plaza Towers Elementary School was flattened. At least 27 people were killed in the storm, including 20 children. The tornado, stretching about a mile wide, was on the ground for 40 minutes. In addition, 58 other tornadoes ripped through other parts of Oklahoma as well as Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Georgia, and New York. Many tornadoes were on the ground for a long time, created significant damage.
Several Tornadoes Hit Midwest, Plains, and Northeast Coast (May 27–31, 2013); ninety-two tornadoes touched down in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, and New York. One deadly tornado hit El Reno, Oklahoma hard. Ten people in all were killed by these tornadoes. Major damage was caused by hail and wind.
Flooding in Colorado (Sept. 10–16, 2013); several cities and towns were flooded due to record rainfall. Nine people were killed. Houses, businesses and roads were destroyed.
Heat Wave and Drought in Western States (March 1–Sept. 30, 2013); extreme drought remained in fourteen western states while conditions improved in the Midwest and Plains from the 2012 drought. Fifty-three people died in the western states from the heatwave and/or drought.
Tornadoes in Ohio Valley (Nov. 17, 2013); extreme weather and late-season tornadoes struck the Ohio Valley region. Seventy tornadoes hit Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Missouri. Eight people were killed. Indiana and Illinois were the hardest hit.
2012 National Drought (2012); a drought began in the spring of 2012 due to the lack of snow the U.S. received during the previous winter. The drought has caused 123 deaths and over $40 billion in damages / cost.
Southeast/Ohio Valley Tornadoes (March 2–3 2012); a total of 75 tornadoes caused 4 billion in damages/costs and 42 deaths.
Texas Tornadoes (April 2–3 2012); a total of 22 tornadoes, including several in the Dallas area, caused 1.3 billion in damages/costs. The tornadoes caused no deaths.
Midwest Tornadoes (April 13–14 2012); 98 confirmed tornadoes hit Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. The damage cost $283 million in Wichita alone. The disaster caused nearly $2 billion in total damages/costs. Six people were killed.
Midwest/Ohio Valley Storms (April 28–May 1 2012); a total of 38 tornadoes and large hail caused major damage, especially in St. Louis. At least $4 billion in damages/costs was estimated. One person was killed.
Southern Plains/Midwest/Northeast Severe Weather (May 25–30 2012); a total of 27 tornadoes and severe storms caused major damage in several states and cost $2.5 billion. One person was killed.
Rockies/Southwest Severe Weather (June 6–12 2012); 25 tornadoes and large hail hit Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. The hail damage cost more than $1 billion in Colorado alone. The total cost of the storms was estimated at $3 billion.
East/Northeast/Plains Severe Storms (Derecho) (June 29–July 2 2012); a large storm system, also called a derecho, left damage from Ohio and Indiana through the mid-Atlantic. Damage by this disaster was estimated at $4 billion. The storm system also caused 28 deaths.
Hurricane Isaac (August 2012); the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, bringing flooding, strong winds and tornadoes. Isaac caused an estimated 2.3 billion in damages and 42 deaths.
Western Wildfires (Summer/Fall 2012); various wildfires burned up 9.1 million acres. The most intense wildfires were in the western part of the United States. The estimated cost of damage was between $1 and $2 billion.
Hurricane Sandy (October 2012); Sandy struck the east coast, killing 132 people. Sandy caused an estimated $82 billion dollars in damages to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
2011 Texas, New Mexico, Arizona Wildfires (Spring-Fall, 2011); over $1.0 billion in total damages/costs; drought and extreme heat caused several historic wildfires across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona; over 3 million acres burned in Texas; 5 deaths reported.
Hurricane Irene (August 20–29, 2011); estimate of over $7.3 billion in total damage/costs; minimal category 1 hurricane hit coastal North Carolina and moved north along Mid-Atlantic Coast causing flooding in the Northeast; numerous tornadoes were also reported; 45 reported deaths.
Upper Midwest Flooding (Summer 2011); over $2.0 billion in total damages/costs; melting snow combined with above normal precipitation caused the Missouri and Souris Rivers to flood across the Upper Midwest; 4,000 homes were flooded and 11,000 people evacuated Minot, North Dakota; 5 deaths.
Mississippi River Flooding (Spring–Summer 2011); $3.0–4.0 billion in total losses/costs; nearly 300 percent more than normal precipitation amounts in the Ohio Valley combined with melting snow caused historical flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries; 7 deaths reported.
Southern Plains/Southwest Drought and Heat Wave (Spring–Fall, 2011); nearly $10.0 billion in losses to crops, livestock and timber; Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, southern Kansas, and western Louisiana are all impacted; no deaths reported.
Southeast/Midwest Tornadoes and Severe Weather (June 18-22, 2011); over $1.3 billion in total damages/costs; an estimated 81 tornadoes over central and southern states; wind and hail damage in the Southeast; 3 deaths.
Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes (May 22–27, 2011); estimate of over $9.1 billion in total damage/costs; an estimated 180 tornadoes over central and southern states; 177 reported deaths.
Southeast/Ohio Valley/Midwest Tornadoes (April 25-30, 2011); over $10.2 billion in total damages/costs; an estimated 343 tornadoes over central and southern states; 321 deaths (240 in Alabama).
Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes (April 14–16, 2011); Over $2.1 billion in total losses/costs; an estimated 177 tornadoes in several central and southern states; 38 deaths (22 in North Carolina).
Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes (April 8–11, 2011); over $1.5 billion in losses/costs; an estimated 59 tornadoes in central and southern states; no deaths reported.
Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes (April 4–5, 2011); over $2.8 billion in total losses with damage in several central and southern states; an estimated 46 tornadoes reported; 9 deaths.
Groundhog Day Blizzard (Jan. 29–Feb. 3, 2011); over $1.8 billion in damages/costs from a large winter storm affecting central, eastern and northeastern states; Chicago was at a standstill; 36 deaths.
2010Midwest Tornadoes and Severe Weather (May 2010 ); total losses exceeded $3.0 billion in damages/costs; 3 deaths.
Mid-South Flooding and Severe Weather (April-May 2010 ); total losses exceeded $2.3 billion in damages/costs; 32 deaths.
Northeast Flooding (March 2010 ); over $1.5 billion in damages/costs; 11 deaths.
2009 Southwest/Great Plains Drought (entire year 2009); estimate of over $5.0 billion in damage/costs; no reported deaths.
Western Wildfires (Summer-Fall 2009); over $1.0 billion in damages/costs (including annual fire suppression costs); 10 deaths.
Midwest, South and Eastern Severe Weather (June 2009); Over $1.1 billion in damages/costs; no deaths reported.
South/Southeast Tornadoes and Severe Weather (April 2009); over $1.2 billion in damages/costs; 6 deaths.
Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes (March 2009); Over $1.0 billion in damages/costs with majority of damage in TX; no deaths reported.
Southeast/Ohio Valley Severe Weather (February 2009); over $1.4 billion in damages/costs with majority of damage in OK and OH; 10 deaths.
2008 Widespread Drought (entire year 2008); estimate of over $2.0 billion in damage/costs; no reported deaths.
Hurricane Ike (September 2008); estimate of over $27.0 billion in damage/costs; 112 deaths reported.
Hurricane Gustav (September 2008); preliminary estimate of at least $5.0 billion in damage/costs; 43 deaths reported.
Hurricane Dolly (July 2008); preliminary estimate of over $1.2 billion in damage/costs; three deaths reported.
US Wildfires (Summer-Fall 2008); preliminary estimate of over $2.0 billion in damage/costs; 16 deaths reported.
Midwest Flood (June 2008); preliminary estimate of over $15 billion in damage/costs; 24 deaths reported.
Midwest/Mid-Atlantic Severe Weather/Tornadoes (June 2008); preliminary estimate of over $1.1 billion in damage/costs; 18 deaths reported.
Midwest/Ohio Valley Severe Weather/Tornadoes (May 2008); preliminary estimate of over $2.4 billion in damage/costs; 13 deaths reported.
Southeast/Midwest Tornadoes (February 2008); preliminary estimate of over $1.0 billion in damage/costs; 57 deaths reported.
2007 Great Plains and Eastern Drought (entire year 2007); preliminary estimate of over $5.0 billion in damage/costs; no reported deaths.
Western Wildfires (Summer-Fall 2007); preliminary estimate of over $1.0 billion in damage/costs; at least 12 deaths.
East/South Severe Weather (April 2007); preliminary estimate of over $1.5 billion in damage/costs; nine deaths reported.
2006Wildfires (Entire year 2006); preliminary estimate of over $1.0 billion in damage/costs; 28 deaths, including 20 firefighters.
Widespread Drought (Spring-Summer 2006); preliminary estimate of over $6.0 billion in damage/costs; some heat-related deaths, but not beyond typical annual averages.
Northeast Flooding (June 2006); preliminary estimate of over $1.0 billion in damage/costs; at least 20 deaths reported.
Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes (April 2006); preliminary estimate of over $1.5 billion in damage/costs; 10 deaths reported.
Midwest/Ohio Valley Tornadoes (April 2006); preliminary estimate of over $1.1 billion in damage/costs; 27 deaths reported.
Severe Storms and Tornadoes (March 2006); preliminary estimate of over $1.0 billion in damage/costs; 10 deaths reported.
2005 Hurricane Wilma (October); preliminary estimate of over $ 10.0 billion in damage/costs; estimated 35 deaths.
Hurricane Rita (September); preliminary estimate of over $ 10.0 billion in damage/costs; estimated 35 deaths.
Hurricane Katrina (August); preliminary estimate of around $100 billion in damage/costs, making this the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history; circa 1800 deaths - the highest U.S. total since the 1928 major hurricane in southern Florida.
Hurricane Dennis (July); preliminary estimate of over $2 billion in damage/costs; at least 12 deaths.
Midwest Drought (Spring-Summer); preliminary estimate of over $1.0 billion in damage/costs; no reported deaths.
2004Hurricane Jeanne (September); preliminary estimate of over $6.9 billion in damage/costs; at least 28 deaths.
Hurricane Ivan (September); NY. estimate of over $14 billion in damage/costs; at least 57 deaths.
Hurricane Frances (September); estimate of approximately $9 billion in damage/costs; at least 48 deaths.
Hurricane Charley (August); estimate of approximately $15 billion in damage/costs; at least 34 deaths.
2003Southern California Wildfires (Oct.–Nov.); estimate of over $2.5 billion damage/costs; 22 deaths.
Hurricane Isabel (Sept.); estimate of approximately $5 billion in damages/costs; at least 55 deaths.
Severe Storms and Tornadoes (May); over $3.4 billion in damages/costs; 51 deaths.
Storms and Hail (April.); over $ 1.6 billion in damages/costs: 3 deaths.
2002Widespread Drought (Spring–Fall); estimate of over $ 10.0 billion in damages; no deaths.
Western Fire Season (Spring–Fall); $ 2.0 billion in damages/costs; 21 deaths.
2001Tropical Storm Allison (June); preliminary estimate of approximately $5.0 (5.1) billion; 43 deaths.
Midwest and Ohio Tornadoes (June); $1.9 billion in damage/costs, at least 3 deaths.
2000Drought/Heat Wave (Spring–Summer); preliminary estimate more than $4.0 (4.2) billion; estimated 140 deaths nationwide.
Western Fire Season (Spring–Summer); more than $2.0 (2.1) billion; no deaths reported.
1999Hurricane Floyd (Sept.); at least $6.0 (6.5) billion; 77 deaths.
Eastern Drought/Heat Wave (Summer); more than $1.0 (1.1) billion; estimated 502 deaths.
Oklahoma-Kansas Tornadoes (May); at least $1.6 (1.7) billion; 55 deaths.
Arkansas-Tennessee Tornadoes (Jan.); approximately $1.3 (1.4) billion; 17 deaths.
1998Texas Flooding (Oct.–Nov.); approximately $1.0 (1.1) billion; 31 deaths.
Hurricane Georges (Sept.); estimated $5.9 (6.5) billion; 16 deaths.
Hurricane Bonnie (Aug.); approximately $1.0 (1.1) billion; 3 deaths.
Southern Drought/Heat Wave (Summer); $6.0-$9.0 billion; at least 200 deaths.
Minnesota Severe Storms/Hail (May); more than $1.5 (1.7) billion; 1 death.
Southeast Tornadoes and Flooding (Winter–Spring); more than $1.0 (1.1) billion; at least 132 deaths.
Northeast Ice Storm (Jan.); more than $1.4 (1.5) billion; 16 deaths.
1997Northern Plains Flooding (April–May); approximately $3.7 (4.1) billion; 11 deaths.
Mississippi and Ohio Valleys Flooding and Tornadoes (March); estimated $1.0 (1.1) billion; 67 deaths.
West Coast Flooding (Dec. 1996–Jan. 1997); approximately $3.0 (3.4) billion; 36 deaths.
1996Hurricane Fran (Sept.); more than $5.0 (5.8) billion; 37 deaths.
Southern Plains Severe Drought (Fall 1995–Summer 1996); approximately $5.0 (6.0) billion; no deaths.
Pacific Northwest Severe Flooding (Feb.); approximately $1.0 (1.2) billion; 9 deaths.
Blizzard of '96 and Flooding (Jan.); approximately $3.0 (3.5) billion; 187 deaths.
1995Hurricane Opal (Oct.); more than $3.0 (3.6) billion; 27 deaths.
Hurricane Marilyn (Sept.); estimated $2.1 (2.5) billion; 13 deaths.
Southern Severe Weather and Flooding (May); 5.0-$6.0 (6.5-7.1) billion; 32 deaths.
California Flooding (Jan.–March); more than $3.0 (3.6) billion; 27 deaths.
1994Western Fire Season (Summer–Fall); approximately $1.0 (1.2) billion; death toll undetermined.
Texas Flooding (Oct.); approximately $1.0 (1.2) billion; 19 deaths.
Tropical Storm Alberto (July); approximately $1.0 (1.2) billion; 32 deaths.
Southeast Ice Storm (Feb.); approximately $3.0 (3.7) billion; 9 deaths.
1993California Wildfires (Fall); approximately $1.0 (1.3) billion; 4 deaths.
Midwest Flooding (Summer); approximately $21.0 (26.7) billion; 48 deaths.
Drought/Heat Wave (Summer); about $1.0 (1.3) billion; at least 16 deaths.
“Storm of the Century” Blizzard (March); $3.0-$6.0 (3.8-7.6) billion; approximately 270 deaths.
1992Nor'easter of 1992 (Dec.); $1.0-$2.0 (1.3-2.6) billion; 19 deaths.
Hurricane Iniki (Sept.); about $1.8 (2.4) billion; 7 deaths.
Hurricane Andrew (Aug.); approximately $27.0 (35.6) billion; 61 deaths.
1991Oakland Firestorm (Oct.): approximately $2.5 (3.5) billion; 25 deaths.
Hurricane Bob (Aug.); $1.5 (2.1) billion; 18 deaths.
1990Texas/Oklahoma/Louisiana/Arkansas Flooding (May); more than $1.0 (1.4) billion; 13 deaths.
1989Hurricane Hugo (Sept.); more than $9.0 (13.9) billion; 86 deaths.
Northern Plains Drought (Summer); at least $1.0 (1.5) billion; no deaths reported.
1988Drought/Heat Wave (Summer); estimated $40.0 (61.6) billion; estimated 5,000 to 10,000 deaths.
1986Southeast Drought/Heat Wave (Summer); $1.0-$1.5 (1.8-2.6) billion; estimated 100 deaths.
1985Hurricane Juan (Oct.–Nov.); $1.5 (2.8) billion; 63 deaths.
Hurricane Elena (Aug.–Sept.); $1.3 (2.4) billion; 4 deaths.
Florida Freeze (Jan.); about $1.2 (2.2) billion; no deaths.
1983Florida Freeze (Dec.); about $2.0 (4.0) billion; no deaths.
Hurricane Alicia (Aug.); $3.0 (5.9) billion; 21 deaths.
Western Storms and Flooding (1982–early 1983); $1.1 (2.2) billion; at least 45 deaths.
Gulf States Storms and Flooding (1982– early 1983); $1.1 (2.2) billion; at least 50 deaths.
1980Drought/Heat Wave (June–Sept.); estimated $20.0 (48.4) billion; estimated 10,000 deaths.

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