Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Most expensive weather disasters from every state

1/
Justin Sullivan // Getty Images

Most expensive weather disasters from every state

The struggle between nature and humankind is an ongoing saga, as old as time itself. Weather-related disasters are an inescapable part of the American landscape and have plagued the U.S. ever since New Hampshire became the final state to ratify the Constitution. 1816 was known as “The Year Without a Summer,” thanks to a volcanic eruption in modern-day Indonesia that resulted in unseasonably low temperatures and systematic crop failure throughout the U.S. After an unusually dry summer in Wisconsin, the Peshtigo Fire of 1871 destroyed roughly 1.2 million acres, killing approximately 1,200 people. In 1900, Galveston, Texas was hit with a Category 4 hurricane; 8,000 lives were lost in the storm surge, making it the deadliest weather-related disaster in United States history.

While experts know, roughly, the cost of pre-20th century weather-related disasters in terms of human lives, it's far more challenging to assign a dollar amount to the resulting damages. Thanks to the establishment of the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), scientists and economists have a much better understanding of the financial burdens posed by modern-day catastrophes. Headquartered in Asheville, N.C., the NCEI is the world's largest active repository of environmental information.

Since 1980, there have been over 244 weather-related disasters throughout the United States, each totaling over $1 billion in damages. Images of Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and the West Coast Wildfires are seared into the nation's consciousness thanks to 24-hour news coverage and investigative documentaries. A steady uptick in extreme weather-related events in the past few decades has been linked by scientists to human activity and resultant climate change.

Using 1980 to 2019 data gathered by the NCEI, Stacker compiled this list of the most-expensive weather disasters since 1980 and the damage and fatalities linked to them in each of the 50 states.

Scroll through the slideshow to see how your state fared.

You may also like: States with the most severe summer weather

2/
STAN HONDA/AFP // Getty Images

Alabama

- #1. Hurricane Katrina August 2005: $166.3 billion damages and 1,833 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Harvey August 2017: $128.8 billion damages and 89 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Irma September 2017: $51.5 billion damages and 97 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Ike September 2008: $36 billion damages and 112 deaths

Mother Nature has been hard on Alabama over the years, which took a brutal beating from Katrina—the costliest hurricane in U.S. history—in 2005. The storm produced a surge of 11.45 feet in Mobile Bay, causing it to spill over into downtown Mobile.

3/
U.S. Army National Guard/Balinda O’Neal // Wikimedia Commons

Alaska

- #1. California Wildfires Fall 2003: $5.4 billion damages and 22 deaths
- #2. Western Wildfires Summer 2007: $3.5 billion damages and 12 deaths
- #3. Western and Alaskan Wildfires Summer-Fall 2015: $3.3 billion damages and 12 deaths
- #4. Western Fire Season Fall 2002: $1.9 billion damages and 21 deaths
- #5. Numerous Wildfires 2006: $1.9 billion damages and 28 deaths

Given its chilly temps, it often surprises people to learn that Alaska routinely suffers from devastating forest fires. In 2018, 17 fires raged throughout the state, more than anywhere else in the U.S. Most shocking is that Alaska’s most expensive natural disaster actually originated in California—wildfires there in 2003 burned almost 4 million acres across several western states.

4/
David McNew // Getty Images

Arizona

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #2. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2017: $18.5 billion damages and 54 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths
- #4. Western/Plains Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2013: $11.5 billion damages and 53 deaths
- #5. Midwest/Plains/Southeast Drought Spring-Summer 2006: $7.7 billion damages and 0 deaths

Arid Arizona is a big draw for those wishing to escape frigid northern winters. The mild climate, however, comes at a price. Currently, in its 21st year of a long-term drought, the state has a history of deaths and destruction resulting from extreme heat.

5/
Mark Wilson // Getty Images

Arkansas

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Ike September 2008: $36 billion damages and 112 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Rita September 2005: $24.6 billion damages and 119 deaths

Despite its lack of a coastline, Arkansas has been battered by some of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history. The state—which ranks in the top 10 for natural disasters—has also been plagued by tornadoes, snow, and ice storms.

6/
Justin Sullivan // Getty Images

California

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #2. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2018: $24.2 billion damages and 106 deaths
- #3. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2017: $18.5 billion damages and 54 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths
- #5. Western/Plains Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2013: $11.5 billion damages and 53 deaths

Devastating images of wildfires have been burned into the public consciousness in recent years, but drought and extreme heat aren't the only perils faced by Californians. Second only to Texas in terms of natural disasters, the Golden State has also been pummeled by flooding, landslides, winter storms, and even tsunamis.

7/
Mike Kaplan/U.S. Air Force Photo // Wikimedia Commons

Colorado

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #2. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2018: $24.2 billion damages and 106 deaths
- #3. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought & Heat Wave Spring-Summer 2011: $13.8 billion damages and 95 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths
- #5. Western/Plains Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2013: $11.5 billion damages and 53 deaths

For a state best known for its fabulous skiing, Colorado has weathered a surprising number of heat waves, droughts, and wildfires over the past decade. The city of Denver ranks in the top 10 urban centers at the greatest risk for environmental destruction.

8/
Miro Vrlik Photography // Shutterstock

Connecticut

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Irene August 2011: $15.5 billion damages and 45 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Floyd September 1999: $10.1 billion damages and 77 deaths
- #4. East Coast Blizzard and Severe Weather March 1993: $9.8 billion damages and 270 deaths
- #5. Southeast Ice Storm February 1994: $5.2 billion damages and 9 deaths

Connecticut's “Gold Coast” in Fairfield County includes some of the most-valuable real estate in the nation, and tiny towns such Greenwich, Westport, and Darien fell victim to 2012 superstorm Hurricane Sandy. Waves measuring 10-12 feet hit Fairfield Beach particularly hard, redepositing sand dunes and sending entire front porches out to sea.

9/
Alex Wong // Getty Images

Delaware

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths
- #4. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought & Heat Wave Spring-Summer 2011: $13.8 billion damages and 95 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths

Delaware, like other Mid-Atlantic coastal states, frequently finds itself in the path of both snowstorms and hurricanes. Storm surges in Delaware Bay fractured the coastline, cutting new inlets into the marshy landscape, and homes in more populated areas also suffered significant flood damage.

10/
ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP // Getty Images

Florida

- #1. Hurricane Katrina August 2005: $166.3 billion damages and 1,833 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Irma September 2017: $51.5 billion damages and 97 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Andrew August 1992: $49.7 billion damages and 61 deaths
- #4. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Wilma October 2005: $25.3 billion damages and 35 deaths

Florida's humid climate and unique geography create a perfect storm for catastrophic hurricanes—none more deadly than monster storm Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Sunshine State just north of the Broward and Miami-Dade county line in August 2005. While only a Category 1 storm when it made landfall, it nevertheless wiped out crops, collapsed highways, and took the lives of many Floridians.

11/
SFpAerial // Shutterstock

Georgia

- #1. Hurricane Katrina August 2005: $166.3 billion damages and 1,833 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Irma September 2017: $51.5 billion damages and 97 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Central/ Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths

Hurricanes and heat waves have both wreaked havoc in Georgia over the years. Tornados that developed in the wake of Katrina caused significant damage, destroying private homes and chicken farms. The Atlanta metro area experienced a gas shortage when the storm disabled two pipelines that serviced the state.

12/
NOAA // Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii

- #1. Hurricane Iniki September 1992: $5.7 billion damages and 7 deaths

Hawaii is susceptible to hurricanes, flooding, tsunamis, and earthquakes, but has racked up relatively little disaster debt when compared with some of its continental cousins. In September 1992, however, Category 4 Hurricane Iniki slammed into the island paradise, which destroyed 14,350 homes on Kauai and took down most of the power grid for almost a month.

13/
rck_953 // Shutterstock

Idaho

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #3. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2018: $24.2 billion damages and 106 deaths
- #4. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2017: $18.5 billion damages and 54 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths

The heat wave that hovered over the United States in the summer of 1988 brought with it drought, wildfire, and bugs. According to the Idaho Forest Service, excessively dry conditions made for an ideal breeding ground for beetles, which subsequently attacked trees already weakened from the intense heat.

14/
Scott Olson // Getty Images

Illinois

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Ike September 2008: $36 billion damages and 112 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #5. Central/ Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths

Although no stranger to droughts and heat waves, Illinois also experienced catastrophic flooding in the summer of 1993. Four lives, thousands of homes, and major highways were all lost in the Prairie State because of unprecedented levels of rainfall in the Midwest.

15/
Scott Olson // Getty Image

Indiana

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Ike September 2008: $36 billion damages and 112 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #5. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought & Heat Wave Spring-Summer 2011: $13.8 billion damages and 95 deaths

Several summer weather disasters have impacted Indiana in recent years, notably Hurricane Ike, which killed at least 112 Hoosiers in 2008. Wind gusts measuring 63 miles per hour were recorded in Indianapolis, and over 200,000 households lost power.

16/
JNix // Shutterstock

Iowa

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #5. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought & Heat Wave Spring-Summer 2011: $13.8 billion damages and 95 deaths

Lacking the protections provided by a mountain range, centrally located Iowa is subject to both arctic blasts and intense humidity coming up from the south. 2011 and 2012 brought back-to-back heat waves to the state, and even more intense periods of drought are expected.

17/
John Moore // Getty Images

Kansas

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #5. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought & Heat Wave Spring-Summer 2011: $13.8 billion damages and 95 deaths

Like neighboring Iowa, Kansas is subject to heat waves and long periods of drought. The brutal heat wave of 1988, accompanied by a period of sustained drought, destroyed 45% of the nation's corn crop and shuttered farms throughout the state.

18/
ungvar // Shutterstock

Kentucky

- #1. Hurricane Katrina August 2005: $166.3 billion damages and 1,833 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Ike September 2008: $36 billion damages and 112 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #5. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths

Kentucky ranks among the top-10 states for weather-related disasters, but the state met a particularly formidable foe in the form of Hurricane Ike in 2008. As the storm approached the Bluegrass State, it merged with a neighboring frontal system—producing wind gusts of 75 miles per hour. Louisville plunged into darkness due to downed power lines, and four people lost their lives from fallen branches.

19/
Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana

- #1. Hurricane Katrina August 2005: $166.3 billion damages and 1,833 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Harvey August 2017: $128.8 billion damages and 89 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Andrew August 1992: $49.7 billion damages and 61 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Ike September 2008: $36 billion damages and 112 deaths

Katrina's rampage in Louisiana looms large in the nation's psyche not just from news coverage of the tragic event, but also thanks to Spike Lee's wrenching documentary, “When the Levees Broke.” When the Category 3 hurricane made landfall in August 2005, dozens of levees in New Orleans gave way, submerging the city. The Louisiana Superdome provided shelter for approximately 25,000 evacuees, which was in turn evacuated because of safety concerns. The vast majority of the lives claimed by Katrina's—over 1,800—were Louisiana residents.

20/
Bart Sadowski // Shutterstock

Maine

- #1. East Coast Blizzard and Severe Weather March 1993: $9.8 billion damages and 270 deaths
- #2. West/Northeast/Southeast Drought 2016: $3.7 billion damages and 0 deaths
- #3. Central and Eastern Winter storm, Cold Wave February 2015: $3.2 billion damages and 30 deaths
- #4. East/South Severe Weather and Flooding April 2007: $3.2 billion damages and 9 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Bob August 1991: $2.8 billion damages and 18 deaths

One of the states most insulated from weather-related disasters, Maine nevertheless has had its share of heat waves and hurricanes. Winter weather, however, poses a special threat to the northernmost region of the continental U.S. The 2014-2015 winter was trying for the Pine Tree State, with the city of Eastport getting slammed with 132.5 inches of snow in just five weeks.

21/
Alex Wong // Getty Images

Maryland

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Michael October 2018: $25.2 billion damages and 49 deaths

Coastal Maryland has played host to numerous hurricanes over the years. In 2012, Sandy hit the state hard, taking 11 lives. In Ocean City—a popular vacation spot—over 100 feet of a fishing pier was destroyed.

22/
Darren McCollester // Getty Images

Massachusetts

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Irene August 2011: $15.5 billion damages and 45 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Floyd September 1999: $10.1 billion damages and 77 deaths
- #4. East Coast Blizzard and Severe Weather March 1993: $9.8 billion damages and 270 deaths
- #5. Southeast Ice Storm February 1994: $5.2 billion damages and 9 deaths


Ice and snow are part of the package for New England residents, but even these hardy souls were tested by the 1993 superstorm that paralyzed the East Coast, with parts of Massachusetts receiving over 20 inches of snow. As if that weren't enough, coastal regions are also routinely under threat during hurricane season. In 2012, Sandy brought flooding and sustained power outages to the Bay State.

23/
Chris Gunby // Shutterstock

Michigan

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44.0 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #3. Midwest Flooding Summer 2008: $12.0 billion damages and 24 deaths
- #4. Western/Plains Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2013: $11.5 billion damages and 53 deaths
- #5. Western/Central Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2003: $7 billion damages and 35 deaths

Although centrally situated Michigan is buffered from the nor'easters that routinely batter the East Coast, the summers can be brutal with sustained heat and accompanying drought. Although Michigan has suffered through several scorchers, none was as catastrophic as the heat wave that struck the state in 1936 and took 570 lives.

24/
Sam Wagner // Shutterstock

Minnesota

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #5. Midwest Flooding Summer 2008: $12 billion damages and 24 deaths

Unrelenting thunderstorms triggered mass flooding in southern Minnesota in the summer of 2008, with Fillmore County and Houston County being hardest hit. In just two days, rainfall exceeded 10 inches, pushing soil already soaked from previous storms past saturation point.

25/
Mark Wolfe/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

Mississippi

- #1. Hurricane Katrina August 2005: $166.3 billion damages and 1,833 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Harvey August 2017: $128.8 billion damages and 89 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #4. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths

Like Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina devastated Mississippi. The 2005 superstorm pummelled the Magnolia State, wiping out 70 miles of coastline and obliterating nearly 400,000 homes. Over 230 people lost their lives, and the entire state was declared a disaster area.

26/
Scott Olson // Getty Images

Missouri

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Ike September 2008: $36 billion damages and 112 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #5. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths

One of the most adversely affected states in the U.S., Missouri is prone to weather disasters throughout the calendar year, including ice storms, tornadoes, and flooding. Since 1990, the Show-Me State has been the recipient of 40 federal major disaster declarations.

27/
Tyler Pfiffner // Shutterstock

Montana

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #3. Central/ Eastern Drought/ Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #4. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2018: $24.2 billion damages and 106 deaths
- #5. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2017: $18.5 billion damages and 54 deaths

Montana is frequently the victim of catastrophic fires. In 2017, the state experienced its worst wildfires in over 100 years, wiping out over 1.4 million acres. Thousands of firefighters and the National Guard were summoned to combat over 40 fires resulting from the hottest summer in Montana's history.

28/
Susilyn // Shutterstock

Nebraska

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths

Nebraska was just one of the Great Plains states affected by the Great North American Drought of 1988 and continued to experience drought conditions well into 1989. The drought caused significant dust storms, rivaling those of the 1930s Dust Bowl.

29/
Oleg Anisimo // Shutterstock

Nevada

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #2. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2017: $18.5 billion damages and 54 deaths
- #3. Western/Plains Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2013: $11.5 billion damages and 53 deaths
- #4. Northern Plains Drought Summer-Fall 1989: $6.3 billion damages and 0 deaths
- #5. Western Drought 2015: $4.9 billion damages and 0 deaths

In the summer of 2017, over 600 fires destroyed approximately 1.2 acres in Nevada, fuelled by unusually abundant brush. The largest wildfire in Nevada history—known as the Martin Fire—followed in 2018.

30/
Bart Sadowski // Shutterstock

New Hampshire

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Irene August 2011: $15.5 billion damages and 45 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Floyd September 1999: $10.1 billion damages and 77 deaths
- #4. East Coast Blizzard and Severe Weather March 1993: $9.8 billion damages and 270 deaths
- #5. West/Northeast/Southeast Drought 2016: $3.7 billion damages and 0 deaths

With only 18 miles of coastline, New Hampshire has been on the receiving end of two disastrous hurricanes in recent years. In 2011, Irene downed trees and snapped power lines—leaving approximately 200,000 households powerless. Just a year later, Hurricane Sandy thrashed the Granite State, prompting President Obama to declare four counties federal disaster areas.

31/
Mario Tama // Getty Images

New Jersey

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths
- #4. Hurricane Irene August 2011: $15.5 billion damages and 45 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths

The worst natural disaster to strike New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy left more than 2 million electricity customers in the dark, destroyed approximately 346,000 homes, and left several people dead. Before the storm, then-Governor Chris Christie issued mandatory evacuations along the coast and closed Atlantic City casinos. It's estimated that the storm displaced as many as 50,000 households.

32/
John Moore // Getty Images

New Mexico

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #2. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought & Heat Wave Spring-Summer 2011: $13.8 billion damages and 95 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths
- #4. Western/ Plains Drought/ Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2013: $11.5 billion damages and 53 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought 2008: $8.4 billion damages and 0 deaths

2012 was one of the driest years for New Mexico—a state already famous for its arid climate. Drought conditions decimated grass cultivation, forcing many ranchers to take the drastic step of selling off their herds.

33/
Allison Joyce // Getty Images

New York

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths
- #4. Hurricane Irene August 2011: $15.5 billion damages and 45 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Frances September 2004: $13.4 billion damages and 48 deaths

After pounding the New Jersey coastline, Hurricane Sandy made its way north to New York City and the tristate area, leaving unprecedented destruction and 53 fatalities in its wake. Homes in coastal areas, such as Staten Island, were completely destroyed. Over 2 million households were without power, some for more than two weeks. The East River overflowed into Lower Manhattan, contaminating the city with roughly 10 billion gallons of raw sewage.

34/
David Saville/FEMA // Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina

- #1. Hurricane Harvey August 2017: $128.8 billion damages and 89 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Irma September 2017: $51.5 billion damages and 97 deaths
- #4. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths

The North Carolina coast is a frequent target for tropical storms. In the past 70 years, the state has been hit by approximately 50 hurricanes. While superstorms such as Sandy and Harvey impacted the area, Floyd in 1999 and Fran in 1996 also wreaked havoc on the Tar Heel State.

35/
John Moore // Getty Images

North Dakota

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Central/Eastern Drought/ Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths

North Dakota experiences climate extremes—frigid winters and blisteringly hot summers. Droughts have proven to be problematic over the years and have negatively impacted the state's agricultural production.

36/
George Campbell // Wikimedia Commons

Ohio

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Ike September 2008: $36 billion damages and 112 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths

Although usually buffered from the negative impacts of tropical storms, Hurricane Ike was tough on Ohio in 2008, forcing then-Governor Ted Strickland to declare a state of emergency. Wind gusts of 75 miles per hour brought down power lines, plunging 2.6 million households into darkness—some for over a week.

37/
Eugene R Thieszen // Shutterstock

Oklahoma

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #3. Central/ Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #4. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought & Heat Wave Spring-Summer 2011: $13.8 billion damages and 95 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths

Oklahoma is one of the worst states in the union for weather disasters, with the infamous 1988 heat wave racking up an estimated $42 billion in damages. The summer of 2012 also brought brutal heat to the Sooner State, including 18 consecutive days of temperatures over 100 degrees in Oklahoma City.

38/
The National Guard // Flickr

Oregon

- #1. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2018: $24.2 billion damages and 106 deaths
- #2. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2017: $18.5 billion damages and 54 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths
- #4. Western/Plains Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2013: $11.5 billion damages and 53 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought 2008: $8.4 billion damages and 0 deaths

Oregon has been subject to devastating wildfires in recent years, notably the 2107 Eagle Creek blaze believed to be sparked by illegal fireworks. 2018 proved to be even worse, with 1,880 fires scorching 846,411 acres—costing the state a record $514 million in damages.

39/
Thomas Cain // Getty Images

Pennsylvania

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Ike September 2008: $36 billion damages and 112 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths
- #5. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought & Heat Wave Spring-Summer 2011: $13.8 billion damages and 95 deaths

Over a million households lost power in Pennsylvania when Hurricane Sandy barrelled down in 2012. Four deaths were caused by the storm, including that of an 8-year-old boy who was killed by a falling tree limb.

40/
Swampyank // Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Irene August 2011: $15.5 billion damages and 45 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Floyd September 1999: $10.1 billion damages and 77 deaths
- #4. East Coast Blizzard and Severe Weather March 1993: $9.8 billion damages and 270 deaths
- #5. Southeast Ice Storm February 1994: $5.2 billion damages and 9 deaths

When Mark Twain famously quipped, “If you don't like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes,” he may well have had Rhode Island in mind. Vulnerable to both snowstorms and hurricanes, the diminutive state had battled Floyd and Irene before confronting Sandy in 2012. The superstorm forced the closing of both the University of Rhode Island and Brown University. The famous Newport Cliff Walk suffered significant damage and has subsequently undergone a costly restoration.

41/
Sean Rayford // Getty Images

South Carolina

- #1. Hurricane Irma September 2017: $51.5 billion damages and 97 deaths
- #2. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Michael October 2018: $25.2 billion damages and 49 deaths
- #4. Hurricane Florence September 2018: $24.2 billion damages and 53 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Charley August 2004: $21.9 billion damages and 35 deaths

Like its neighbor to the north, South Carolina is under perpetual threat of a tropical storm. Hurricane Charley dealt the state a particularly nasty blow in 2004, striking the coast not once but twice. The storm moved out to sea after initially landing at Cape Romain, then headed back inland to blast Myrtle Beach.

42/
Madeleine_H // Flickr

South Dakota

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths

Along with the rest of the Great Plains, South Dakota sizzled during the road-buckling 1988 heat wave. Temperatures in Sioux Falls soared to 105 degrees and episodes of “dry lightning” ignited several fires in the western part of the state.

43/
Melinda Fawver // Shutterstock

Tennessee

- #1. Hurricane Katrina August 2005: $166.3 billion damages and 1,833 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Harvey August 2017: $128.8 billion damages and 89 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #5. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths

Despite being landlocked, Tennessee has weathered its share of hurricanes over the years including superstorms Harvey and Katrina. Even after winds subside, heavy rainfall can still produce devastating floods.

44/
Daniel J. Martinez/U.S. National Guard // Wikimedia Commons

Texas

- #1. Hurricane Harvey August 2017: $128.8 billion damages and 89 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Ike September 2008: $36 billion damages and 112 deaths
- #4. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #5. Central/ Eastern Drought/ Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths

Everything's bigger in Texas—including weather-related disasters. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm in south-central Texas, with wind gusts of 130 miles per hour. Although soon downgraded to a tropical storm, 27 trillion gallons of rain continued to drench the Lone Star State—resulting in flooding of historic proportions and giving Harvey the title of the wettest Atlantic storm on record. Harvey destroyed approximately 1 million vehicles, 240,000 homes, and took 68 lives.

45/
Silvia Truessel // Shutterstock

Utah

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #2. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2018: $24.2 billion damages and 106 deaths
- #3. Western/Plains Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2013: $11.5 billion damages and 53 deaths
- #4. Western/Central Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2003: $7 billion damages and 35 deaths
- #5. Northern Plains Drought Summer-Fall 1989: $6.3 billion damages and 0 deaths

Brigham Young may have declared Utah the Promised Land, but that hasn't spared the Beehive State from blistering heat waves and wildfires. Record-breaking temperatures in 2012 ushered in savage droughts and out-of-control wildfires around the state.

46/
Matthew Cavanaugh // Getty Images

Vermont

- #1. Hurricane Irene August 2011: $15.5 billion damages and 45 deaths
- #2. Hurricane Floyd September 1999: $10.1 billion damages and 77 deaths
- #3. East Coast Blizzard and Severe Weather March 1993: $9.8 billion damages and 270 deaths
- #4. West/Northeast/Southeast Drought 2016: $3.7 billion damages and 0 deaths
- #5. East/South Severe Weather and Flooding April 2007: $3.2 billion damages and 9 deaths

When Hurricane Irene first made landfall on the east coast in August 2011, few people imagined the disastrous effects the storm would have on land-locked Vermont. Irene caused nearly every waterway in the state to flood, washing away hundreds of bridges and roads.

47/
Rob Crandall // Shutterstock

Virginia

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #3. Central/Eastern Drought/Heat Wave Summer-Fall 1980: $32.8 billion damages and 1,260 deaths
- #4. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths
- #5. Hurricane Michael October 2018: $25.2 billion damages and 49 deaths

Although Virginia has battled the effects of superstorms on several occasions, no hurricane has ever made landfall in this coastal, mid-Atlantic state. The Old Dominion was largely spared by Hurricane Sandy, although the storm did leave three people dead and shut power from approximately 180,000 homes.

48/
Christian Roberts-Olsen // Shutterstock

Washington

- #1. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2018: $24.2 billion damages and 106 deaths
- #2. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2017: $18.5 billion damages and 54 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths
- #4. Western/Plains Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2013: $11.5 billion damages and 53 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought 2008: $8.4 billion damages and 0 deaths


In July 2018, Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in all of Washington because of wildfires raging across the Pacific Northwest. While over half the blazes resulted from excessively dry heat, approximately 400 were caused by human beings.

49/
Ty Wright // Getty Images

West Virginia

- #1. Hurricane Sandy October 2012: $72.8 billion damages and 159 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #3. Hurricane Ivan September 2004: $28.1 billion damages and 57 deaths
- #4. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought & Heat Wave Spring-Summer 2011: $13.8 billion damages and 95 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths

Although hurt by storms, Sandy and Ivan, one of West Virginia's worst floods happened in June 2016. Flash flooding resulting from unusually heavy rains in a 12-hour period resulted in the deaths of 15 people.

50/
Alex Baum/Wisconsin National Guard // Flickr

Wisconsin

- #1. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. Midwest Flooding Summer 1993: $37.3 billion damages and 48 deaths
- #3. U.S. Drought/Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #4. Midwest Flooding Summer 2008: $12 billion damages and 24 deaths
- #5. Western/Plains Drought/Heat Wave Spring-Fall 2013: $11.5 billion damages and 53 deaths

Given its uniformly flat landscape, Wisconsin has always been prone to flooding. An unusually snowy winter followed by an excessively rainy spring resulted in widespread flooding throughout the Midwest in 1993, causing every major river in Wisconsin to overflow. Over half the state's 72 counties were declared federal disaster areas.

51/
James Mattil // Shutterstock

Wyoming

- #1. U.S. Drought/ Heat Wave Summer 1988: $44 billion damages and 454 deaths
- #2. U.S. Drought/ Heat Wave 2012: $33.6 billion damages and 123 deaths
- #3. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2018: $24.2 billion damages and 106 deaths
- #4. Western Wildfires, California Firestorm Summer-Fall 2017: $18.5 billion damages and 54 deaths
- #5. U.S. Drought Spring-Fall 2002: $13 billion damages and 0 deaths

While Wyoming ranks on the low end of the spectrum in terms of weather-related disasters, it, too, was swept up in the crippling heat waves of 1988 and 2018 as well as the west coast wildfires of recent years. In 2018, wildfires caused hundreds of homes in upscale Jackson to be evacuated as well as the closing of a key highway leading to popular tourist attractions such as the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

2018 All rights reserved.