Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

States with the most federal emergencies and disasters

1/
Michael Rieger/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

States with the most federal emergencies and disasters

This year isn't even halfway over, but many states have already endured a number of dangerous weather conditions. A powerful bomb cyclone brought snow and rain through 25 states in March; Nebraska and South Dakota sought federal help after the storm left them drenched. Alabama weathered a separate storm system that caused considerable damage, including flooding. In April, the federal government approved funding for Tennessee, where 56 counties experienced disaster-level damage from severe spring storms. In New Mexico, wildfires are already wreaking havoc months before summer.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for the president to declare a major disaster, it has to be a natural event, like a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, or earthquake. If a fire, flood, or explosion causes enough damage, regardless of whether it was caused by natural events, it can be considered a disaster. For example, California needed help from FEMA in 2018, after it's most devastating wildfire season on record.

The president can declare a federal emergency whenever they think federal assistance is warranted. The funds can be used to protect “lives, property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States.”

In 2009, President Barack Obama declared the spread of H1N1 influenza a national emergency. In 2019, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to procure funding for a southern border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, though that declaration has been challenged by some in Congress.

Using data from FEMA, Stacker ranked all 50 states by the number of federal emergencies and disasters from 1953 to Feb. 18, 2017. During the past 64 years, there have been 3,280 federal emergencies or disasters declared, not counting any that happened outside the United States, or American territory. Click through to see how states compare.

You may also like:Notable weather events from the year you were born

2/
USACE HQ // Flickr

#50. Delaware

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 21
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 0.64%
- Top causes of disaster: hurricane (8 events), snow (5 events), storm (5 events)

Delaware's geography keeps the state from direct hurricane hits. “It's a concave part of the coastline and storms that travel that far north are typically curving to the north or northeast,” Brian McNoldy, a tropical weather expert, told the Washington Post. Nearby storms can still have disastrous impacts, though. In 2011 and 2012, Hurricanes Irene and Sandy both caused disaster-level damage.

3/
Mike Moore/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Rhode Island

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 22
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 0.67%
- Top causes of disaster: hurricane (9 events), snow (6 events)

While Rhode Island isn't as inland as Delaware, it is far enough north that it's usually out of the way of most hurricanes. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy didn't hit Rhode Island directly, but it did cause enough coastal damage that FEMA provided almost $7 million to repair public infrastructure in the first year after the storm. Some estimated Sandy was the worst hurricane to hit the state since 1954.

4/
Jeff Henry/NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Wyoming

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 26
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 0.79%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (14 events), flood (5 events)

Wyoming may be out of the path of hurricanes, but the state's vast forests and wildlands are vulnerable to wildfires during times of heat and drought. In 2018, hundreds of homes were evacuated in the resort town of Jackson because of a “wind-blown wildfire.” The fire started in the Bridger-Teton National Forest and closed 50 miles of a tourist-traveled road between Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

5/
Stephen Lehmann/USCG // Wikimedia Commons

#47. South Carolina

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 27
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 0.82%
- Top causes of disaster: hurricane (11 events), ice (5 events)

South Carolina's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes it vulnerable to hurricanes. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo caused more than $7 billion in damage. In 2015, a rain system associated with Hurricane Joaquin dropped more than two feet of rain around Columbia, flooding homes and breaking dams.

6/
Tim Chacon/U.S. Airforce // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Utah

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 28
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 0.85%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (15 events), flood (8 events)

Dry air, heat, and drought make Utah a prime spot for wildfires. In 2017, Utah battled the 71,000-acre Brian Head Fire. The next year, FEMA sent funds to help repair the damage caused by the Dollar Ridge Fire, which burned more than 50,000 acres and destroyed 90 homes.

7/
Charles Knowles // Shutterstock

#44. Idaho (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 31
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 0.95%
- Top causes of disaster: flood (12 events), fire (7 events), storm (5 events)

In 2017, heavy snowpack in the Idaho mountains eventually led to disaster-level flooding of the Boise Basin reservoirs and the Boise River. In 2019, Idaho rivers flooded near Boise because of mountain runoff. Thunderstorms and lightning can also lead to wildfires in heavily wooded parts of the state.

8/
Greg Thompson/USFWS // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Connecticut (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 31
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 0.95%
- Top causes of disaster: hurricane (10 events), snow (8 events), storm (8 events)

Connecticut manages to avoid direct hurricane hits because it is located inland. But since it is still on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Connecticut can't avoid the effects of the worst storms. In 2012, FEMA gave the New England state more than $45 million in aid after Hurricane Sandy. In May 2018, President Donald Trump approved disaster funding in the state after tornadoes caused extensive damage.

9/
Leif Skoogfors/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Maryland

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 32
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 0.98%
- Top causes of disaster: flood (9 events), hurricane (8 events)

Maryland avoids direct hits from hurricanes, but its coastal location and numerous streams make certain parts of the state susceptible to flooding when large amounts of rain falls. In 2018, Ellicott City experienced flash flooding that overwhelmed the city within hours.

10/
National Weather Service // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Michigan

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 36
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.10%
- Top causes of disaster: flood (11 events), storm (8 events)

Three great lakes border Michigan, which makes its coasts prime locations for flooding. The state's lakes and streams can also overflow. In 2013, the Grand River in Grand Rapids almost rose 22 feet. While it wasn't as bad as the Great Flood of 1904, it did cause enough damage to warrant a federal disaster declaration. Afterward, the city invested at least $15 million to fortify the flood walls to meet 2016 standards agreed upon by the city and FEMA.

11/
DVIDSHUB // Flickr

#41. Vermont

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 43
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.31%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (21 events), flood (15 events)

In winter, storms in Vermont can dump heavy snow that can take down trees and power lines. While the Northeastern state isn't directly on the coast, severe weather that comes ashore near its neighbors on the Atlantic can still have an affect. In 2011, Tropical Storm Irene damaged bridges and destroyed homes. Northern and central parts of the state near river systems and Lake Champlain can flood when heavy rainfall combined with melting snow.

12/
PSNH // Flickr

#39. New Hampshire (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 45
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.37%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (20 events), flood (10 events)

New Hampshire doesn't get hit directly by hurricanes because of how the jet stream affects storms in the Northeast, but storms can still do damage. In 1938, before storms were named, the state experienced its worst hurricane in history. Winds blew at 120 mph, taking down 1,000 trees in Concord alone.

13/
Adam DuBrowa/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Hawaii (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 45
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.37%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (15 events), flood (9 events)

Although it's a vacation destination, Hawaii does experience volcanic eruptions and hurricanes. Heavy rains can also cause landslides and flooding. In 2017, as the Kilauea volcano erupted, Hurricane Lane, later downgraded to a tropical storm, barreled toward the Big Island. More than 700 buildings were destroyed and 3,000 people were displaced after the double disasters.

14/
Barry Bahler/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Wisconsin

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 46
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.4%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (19 events), flood (15 events)

Rivers and lakes in Wisconsin can overflow when too much rain falls at once, especially when combined with melting snow. In 2018, some of southwest Wisconsin got as much rain in 15 days as it usually does in six months. Spring flooding in Madison caused $1 million in damage. As climate change warms the air, increasing the amount of moisture the atmosphere can hold, the heaviest storms in winter and summer will dump more precipitation.

15/
The National Guard // Flickr

#37. Massachusetts

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 47
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.43%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (13 events), hurricane (10 events)

Snowstorms, nor'easters, and hurricanes all take aim on Massachusetts, which borders the Atlantic Ocean. In 1978, a blizzard dumped snow for 32 hours, leaving drivers stranded, destroying homes, and killing 73 people. In 1991, Hurricane Bob caused $1 billion in damage and more than half of people living in southeastern Massachusetts lost power.

16/
John Crosby/Indiana National Guard // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Indiana

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 48
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.46%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (24 events), flood (12 events)

Tornado activity has recently increased in Indiana, something that used to happen more frequently in places like Texas and Kansas. The state also gets hit with snowstorms in winter and heavy rain in spring. In 2011, a historic blizzard brought strong winds and feet of snow to northwest Indiana. In 2018, disaster-level flooding drenched the state, which is bordered by the Ohio River on the south and Wabash River on the west. It even broke up a two-lane road in southern Warrick County.

17/
Sonya N. Herbert // Official White House Photo

#35. New Jersey

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 50
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.52%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (19 events), hurricane (9 events)

New Jersey, which has a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, is a frequent recipient of snowstorms and hurricanes. In 1993, New Jersey was hit with the “Storm of the Century,” a Category 5 snowstorm. In 2011, Hurricane Irene caused rivers to overflow. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy, also called Superstorm Sandy, took an unexpected turn inward, creating a storm surge that flooded at least 50,000 homes.

18/
JT Fisherman // Shutterstock

#34. Alaska

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 52
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.59%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (18 events), flood (13 events)

The Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea border Alaska, which puts the northernmost U.S. state at risk for typhoons and other severe weather that form on the sea. In 2014, Alaska experienced its strongest storm in history when former Super Typhoon Nuri came ashore. A year later, another storm brought record-breaking wind. Earthquakes are another concern. In 2018, a 7.0 magnitude quake shook the ground about eight miles north of Anchorage.

19/
Bryan Busovicki // Shutterstock.

#33. Ohio

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 54
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.65%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (24 events), flood (15 events)

Ohio experiences a lot of severe weather events, including tornadoes, snowstorms, and flooding. Winter can be a particularly hazardous time. In 1978, a blizzard dubbed the “white hurricane,” brought winds stronger than 80 mph and 20-foot snow drifts that buried cars and buildings. When the weather warms, and the air can hold more moisture, heavy thunderstorms can flood the states rivers and lakes.

20/
Andrea Booher/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Montana (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 55
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.68%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (29 events), storm (12 events)

When Montana experiences drought-like conditions, wildfires can proliferate throughout the state's forests and wildlands. If winter and spring are particularly moist, this can lead to more vegetation “fuel” when the summer heat sets in. In 2017, the state experienced its largest wildfire season in a century when more than 1.7 million acres went up in flames.

21/
Jocelyn Augustino FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Maine (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 55
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.68%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (22 events), flood (13 events)

This northeastern Atlantic state can see heavy snowfall, severe thunderstorms, and hurricanes. Winter storms can also bring ice, freezing rain, and raise the tide. In 2018, a blizzard caused the worst coastal flooding in decades. Maine's rivers, streams, lakes, and coastline are also vulnerable to flooding, particularly in spring, when heavy rain mixes with snowmelt.

22/
Columbia River Gorge U.S. Forest Service // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Oregon

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 57
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.74%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (23 events), storm (15 events)

Just like Washington, wildfires occur in the forests and wildlands of Oregon when warm temperatures mix with dry conditions, something that will likely increase with climate change. In 2012, a lightning strike started the Long Draw fire, which burned more than 550,000 acres.

23/
Andrea Booher/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#28. North Dakota (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 57
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.74%
- Top causes of disaster: flood (28 events), storm (21 events)

Land near North Dakota's rivers are prone to flooding when too much rain falls at once. In 1997, the Red River flooded Grand Forks on the eastern side of the state. It was one of the largest natural disasters in North Dakota's history. In the spring of 2019, the Missouri River rose to near-record levels.

24/
Dave Gatley/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#28. North Carolina (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 57
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.74%
- Top causes of disaster: hurricane (25 events), flood (8 events), storm (8 events)

North Carolina extends out in the Atlantic Ocean and its coasts are made up of small barrier islands that are extremely prone to hurricane damage. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd caused flooding for a week. In 2018, Hurricane Florence was only a Category 1 storm, but it moved so slowly that it caused massive flooding. FEMA approved $1.7 million to repair Onslow Memorial Hospital in Raleigh after Florence came through.

25/
Leif Skoogfors FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Kansas (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 58
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.77%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (33 events), flood (13 events)

Kansas, where Dorothy got whisked off to Oz by a tornado. The state is part of the infamous Tornado Alley, an area in the Great Plains that historically produces more tornadoes than the rest of the country. It's not the flat land that makes Kansas so accustomed to twisters; it's the mix of warm air from the Gulf of Mexico and polar air from Canada that can produce supercell thunderstorms. On May 4, 2007, the first tornado classified as an EF5 blew through Greensburg, Kan., destroying the town with winds that reached 205 mph.

26/
Coconino National Forest // Flickr

#26. Arizona (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 58
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.77%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (32 events), flood (13 events)

Arizona's high temperatures and dry conditions leave it vulnerable to wildfires. Millions of acres have burned in the past 20 years, and climate change is extending fire season. The 2011 Wallow Fire, which two people accidentally started with their unattended campfire, became the largest in Arizona's history when it burned 32 homes and forced 10,000 people to evacuate. In the end, the fire burned more than 460,000 acres.

27/
snake fish // Flickr

#24. Pennsylvania (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 59
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.8%
- Top causes of disaster: flood (26 events), storm (16 events)

When heavy rain drenches Pennsylvania, central parts of the state are likely to flood. When precipitation saturates the ground too quickly, the water then runs down to rivers and streams. Since it's close to the coast, Pennsylvania can also feel the effects of nearby hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricanes Irene and Sandy both took a toll on the state.

28/
Nikolas Noonan // Unsplash

#24. Nebraska (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 59
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.8%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (27 events), flood (18 events)

In 2019, Nebraska saw "the most widespread destruction” in the state's history after a bomb cyclone drenched the low-lying state, flooding ground that was already saturated with melting snow. The state is also no stranger to tornadoes. In 2014, one storm churned out four separate twisters. On the bright side, tornado activity has declined in recent years as Tornado Alley has shifted east.

29/
David Saville / FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Minnesota (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 60
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.83%
- Top causes of disaster: flood (25 events), storm (24 events)

When snow melt mixes with spring rains, areas can flood in Minnesota. In 1997, the Red River overflowed, flooding East Forks. In 2018, the governor declared a state of emergency in 36 counties because of flooding near several of Minnesota's rivers.

30/
Victorgrigas // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Illinois (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 60
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.83%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (25 events), flood (15 events)

Illinois experiences tornadoes, heavy rain, and dangerous winter storms. In 2011, a storm dubbed “Snowmageddon” brought strong winds and feet of snow to areas like Chicago. The historic blizzard crippled the Windy City when 20 inches of snow quickly blanketed sidewalks, subway lines, and streets. The snow fell so fast that drivers and buses had to abandon their vehicles as they made their way home on the city's busy Lake Shore Drive.

31/
U.S. National Weather Service // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Georgia

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 61
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.86%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (15 events), tornado (13 events)

While Georgia is far enough away from the coast that it doesn't get directly hit by hurricanes, it does feel the aftereffects as storms make landfall. In 2018, Hurricane Michael, which made landfall on Florida's panhandle as a Category 4 storm, traveled over the state as a tropical storm. It left 400,000 people without power. In 2018, weather systems produced 21 tornadoes in the state.

32/
Zachary Hada // U.S. Air Force

#19. South Dakota (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 62
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.89%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (27 events), flood (16 events)

South Dakota is at risk for severe weather any time of year, including storms that bring hail or tornadoes. In March 2019, the powerful bomb cyclone that affected states like Nebraska brought blizzard-like conditions and flooding to western and central South Dakota, just as it started to thaw out for spring.

33/
Barry Bahler/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Iowa (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 62
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.89%
- Top causes of disaster: flood (27 events), storm (25 events)

The rivers flowing through Iowa can overflow when the snowpack melts or when there is heavy rainfall. The Great Flood of 1993 was one of Iowa's worst natural disasters. Rain lasted for 130 consecutive days in some areas, damaging or destroying 10,000 homes. Des Moines even lost access to their public water supply. In 2000, Iowa experienced record-breaking flooding again, this time along the Cedar and Iowa river basins. Of 99 counties in the state, 85 were declared federal emergency areas.

34/
Bureau of Land Management // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Nevada

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 63
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.92%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (42 events), flood (11 events)

The hot, dry, windy weather in Nevada, particularly in the summer, puts the state at risk for wildfires. In 2018, Nevada experienced one of its worst wildfire seasons. The Martin Fire, which started on July 5, 2018, scorched an area about five times bigger than Las Vegas, making it the worst single fire in Nevada's history.

35/
Liz Roll/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Virginia (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 64
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.95%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (17 events), flood (15 events)

Virginia's coast borders the Atlantic Ocean, but it is tucked slightly inward. So far, the state has avoided a direct hurricane hit. That doesn't mean storms can't do damage. In 2006, Tropical Storm Ernesto inflicted more than $100 million in damage. While the state didn't get a direct hit from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the storm caused enough damage to warrant a federal emergency.

36/
Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Tennessee (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 64
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 1.95%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (31 events), flood (17 events)

Spring can be a tumultuous time for weather in Tennessee. As the cold air leaves and warm air moves in, the state can get rain showers and severe thunderstorms. In 1974, the “Super Outbreak” spawned 24 tornadoes in the central part of the state. While twisters usually avoid the state's capital, a dangerous tornado touched down in Nashville in 1998.

37/
Bob McMillan/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#15. West Virginia

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 67
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.04%
- Top causes of disaster: flood (29 events), storm (23 events)

Parts of West Virginia are prone to flash flooding because the steep terrain leads to a rapid run-off when there is a lot of precipitation. “When it does rain, it gets to the streams very quickly, the streams are steep, they're narrow,” says Steve Kite, a professor of geology and geography at West Virginia University. In 2018, heavy rain caused emergency-level flooding in 10 West Virginia counties.

38/
Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Missouri

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 68
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.07%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (33 events), flood (21 events)

Storms can reach Missouri anytime of the year, but thunderstorms are common in spring as cold and warm air mix. If there is enough moisture and instability in the air, tornadoes can spawn out of the storms. Areas along the Missouri River area also susceptible to flooding. In March 2019, melting snow combined with heavy rain overwhelmed rivers and levees.

39/
Mark Wolfe/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Mississippi

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 69
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.1%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (29 events), hurricane (15 events)

Mississippi sees more tornado activity than it used to, as typical Tornado Alley weather patterns shift east. The state also borders the Gulf of Mexico, exposing coastal areas to hurricanes and flooding. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused at least $25 billion in damages. It battered bridges, destroyed highways, and brought along a 28-foot storm surge and strong winds that traveled 200 miles inland. In 2017, a Category 1 storm named Nate hit Biloxi, bringing rain and flooding with it. Infrastructure repairs since Hurricane Katrina helped spare the area from worse damage.

40/
Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Arkansas

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 70
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.13%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (28 events), flood (17 events)

Storms hit Arkansas year round. Residents can experience tornadoes, thunderstorms, and blizzards. On a single January day in 1999, 56 tornadoes ripped through Arkansas within 24 hours. Then, in 2000, the state experienced crippling ice storms. Recently, in 2017, strong spring storms led to flooding and a state of emergency.

41/
FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Kentucky (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 72
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.2%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (29 events), flood (22 events)

Kentucky is located in a part of the country that experiences a range of strong weather events, including tornadoes and snowstorms. Low-lying areas along the Ohio River Valley are also prone to flooding, particularly in January and February, when inundated with rain. The “Great Flood of 1937” submerged about 70% of Louisville. In 2019, the governor, and then FEMA, declared a state of emergency after severe storms increased water levels in dams in central and western Kentucky.

42/
Michael Rieger/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Colorado (tie)

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 72
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.2%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (49 events), flood (13 events)

When drought conditions combine with dry air and hot temperatures, Colorado's forests and grassland provide tinder for wildfires. Nearly 3 million Colorado residents now live in wildfire-prone areas as development moves into historically agricultural areas. The additional homes provide even more fuel for fires. At one point in 2018, Colorado had 47 wildfires burning at once, more than any other state in the U.S.

43/
Jeremy L. Grisham/U.S. Navy // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Louisiana

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 76
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.32%
- Top causes of disaster: flood (26 events), hurricane (23 events)

Since Louisiana borders the Gulf of Mexico, the state is vulnerable to flooding and hurricanes. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina, which stressed levees that eventually failed to protect New Orleans, was one of the most devastating storms in U.S. history. Almost 2,000 people died, and the city was still recovering a decade later. Rising sea level due to climate change will only increase coastal flooding.

44/
Brandon Oberhardt/Gila National Forest // Wikimedia Commons

#8. New Mexico

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 78
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.38%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (46 events), flood (18 events)

Extreme heat mixed with dry conditions puts New Mexico at risk for wildfires. In 2012, two lightning strikes caused two different fires that became the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire, the biggest wildfire in the state's history. Climate scientists predict that droughts will only get more intense as the Earth warms, increasing wildfires in the future.

45/
Marvin Nauman/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Alabama

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 79
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.41%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (36 events), hurricane (16 events)

Tornadoes, which tend to be longer in the Southeast, are a deadly occurrence in Alabama. In 2019, a tornado killed at least 23 people in Lee County. While scientists don't know how climate change will affect tornado behavior, the phenomenon could likely be the reason Tornado Alley is shifting east. Alabama's Gulf Coast also puts the state at risk for flooding and hurricanes.

46/
MTAPhotos // Flickr

#6. New York

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 93
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.84%
- Top causes of disaster: storm (27 events), flood (23 events)

New York gets hit with blizzards in the winter and rain in the summer. Hurricanes can also drench the city with storm surges. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy brought unexpected flooding to New York City, shutting down the subway system and flooding homes. Many businesses and residents weren't prepared for a storm like that and did not have flood insurance.

47/
Ben Brooks // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Washington

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 97
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 2.96%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (43 events), flood (28 events)

Dry weather, warm air, and winds increase the risk of wildfires in forest-covered Washington, something that will likely occur more often because of climate change. In 2015, President Barack Obama approved a federal state of emergency after the state experienced their worst fire season in history. More than 490,000 acres in Washington burned, an area larger in size than Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles combined.

48/
Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Florida

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 122
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 3.72%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (42 events), hurricane (34 events)

With the Gulf of Mexico on its west side and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Florida is more vulnerable to hurricanes than any other U.S. state. The Okeechobee Hurricane in 1928 was the deadliest, but Hurricane Irma in 2017 was the most expensive, resulting in more than $53 billion in damage. The mix of heat, drought, and wildland puts the state at risk for wildfires. In 2017, more than 115 fires were burning at once, setting nearly 30,000 acres ablaze.

49/
Marvin Nauman/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Oklahoma

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 159
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 4.85%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (75 events), storm (40 events)

In 2012, a devastating tornado killed 24 people and razed entire neighborhoods in Moore, Okla. The state is smack dab in Tornado Alley, and although scientists are trying to predict tornadoes, they're not as easy to forecast as hurricanes.

50/
Krista Kennell // Shutterstock

#2. California

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 211
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 6.43%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (140 events), flood (35 events)

In 2018, California experienced the most destructive and deadliest wildfire in history. Camp Fire burned in Paradise, a town north of Sacramento, destroying 18,000 structures and killing at least 85 people. Scientists predict that climate change will only increase future fire-related disasters.

51/
Daniel Martinez Texas National Guard // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Texas

- Total federal emergencies and disasters: 252
- State's emergencies out of total emergencies: 7.68%
- Top causes of disaster: fire (152 events), flood (36 events)

Extreme heat combined with drought is causing more wildfires in Texas, something climate scientists say will likely get worse in the future. “I feel very confident in saying Texas is in the bull's-eye of climate change,” says Donald Falk, a forest ecologist at the University of Arizona. Since the state borders the Gulf of Mexico, it's also a prime spot to incur flooding from hurricanes and tropical storms. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey became the first major hurricane to hit Texas since 1970.

2018 All rights reserved.