Cite

Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters Since 1980

Updated August 31, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Source:  NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2020).
 

The United States is a big country with a lot of diverse ecosystems. All that land is subject to an array of natural disasters. The worst by a wide margin are hurricanes, which single-handedly account for nearly half of all damages and deaths due to disasters. Here are the stats gathered by NOAA since 1980 by disaster type:

DISASTER
TYPE
EVENTSEVENTS/​YEARPERCENT
FREQUENCY
TOTAL COSTSPERCENT OF
TOTAL COSTS
COST/​EVENTCOST/​YEARDEATHSDEATHS/​YEAR
Drought270.79.9%$252.7BCI14.1%$9.4B$6.2B3,86594
Flooding330.812.1%$150.4BCI8.4%$4.6B$3.7B61715
Freeze90.23.3%$30.6BCI1.7%$3.4B$0.7B1624
Severe Storm1253.045.8%$268.4BCI15.0%$2.1B$6.5B1,75743
Tropical Cyclone451.116.5%$954.4BCI53.3%$21.2B$23.3B6,507159
Wildfire170.46.2%$85.4BCI4.8%$5.0B$2.1B3478
Winter Storm170.46.2%$49.6BCI2.8%$2.9B$1.2B1,04826
All Disasters2736.7100.0$1,791.5BCI100.0%$6.6B$43.7B14,303349

The U.S. has sustained 273 weather-related disasters since 1980 in which overall damages and costs reached or exceeded $1 billion at the time of the event, and with cumulative costs topping $1 trillion. 16 occurred during 2011 alone—the most for any year on record, with total costs of $52 billion. Each of the past four years has had 12 or more, and 2020 is currently on pace to meet the record set in 2011. All in all, the rate of billion dollar disasters nearly doubled from the 2000s to the 2010s, adjusting for inflation.

TIME PERIODBILLION-DOLLAR
DISASTERS
EVENTS/YEARCOSTPERCENT OF
TOTAL COST
COST/YEARDEATHSDEATHS/YEAR
1980s (1980-1989)292.9$177.2B9.9%$17.7B2,870287
1990s (1990-1999)535.3$272.3B15.2%$27.2B3,045305
2000s (2000-2009)626.2$517.1B28.9%$51.7B3,091309
2010s (2010-2019)11911.9$807.3B45.1%$80.7B5,217522
Last 5 Years (2015-2019)6913.8$535.6B29.9%$107.1B3,862772
Last 3 Years (2017-2019)4414.7$460.4B25.7%$153.5B3,5691,190
1980-2020*2736.7$1,791.5B100.0%$43.7B14,303349
.com/ipa/0/8/8/2/8/2/A0882823.html