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Costliest US weather disasters of the last 40 years

  • #90. Western wildfires (2007)

    - Cost: $3.5 billion
    - Deaths: 12
    - Begin date: June 1, 2007
    - End date: Aug. 31, 2007

    In the summer of 2007, drought and high winds caused wildfires throughout the western United States in Alaska, California, Montana, and Washington, just to name a few. The amount of acreage that burned nationwide was 8.9 million acres, and over 3,000 homes and structures were destroyed in Southern California alone. The overall cost of these fires was $3.5 billion.

  • #89. Mississippi River flooding (2011)

    - Cost: $3.5 billion
    - Deaths: 7
    - Begin date: April 1, 2011
    - End date: May 31, 2011

    From the beginning of April to the end of May in 2011, persistent rainfall and melting snowpack caused historical flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The flooding cost $3.5 billion in damage, which included $800 million to agriculture in Mississippi and $80 million for the first 30 days of flood-fighting efforts in Louisiana. To mitigate damage, the Army Corps breached levees to protect Cairo, Illinois, and opened floodgates on the Bonnet Carre spillway near New Orleans to divert some water.

  • #88. Hurricane Marilyn (1995)

    - Cost: $3.6 billion
    - Deaths: 13
    - Begin date: Sept. 15, 1995
    - End date: Sept. 17, 1995

    In September 1995, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were hit by Hurricane Marilyn, a Category 2 hurricane that had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph. The hurricane caused $3.6 billion in damages and killed 13 people. On St. Thomas, most of the homes were destroyed, the island's hospital closed, and much of the communication was cut off. However, according to a New York Times interview with James Lee Witt, who led FEMA from 1993 to 2001, the island experienced a smooth and fast recovery.

  • #87. Southeast/Ohio Valley tornadoes (2012)

    - Cost: $3.6 billion
    - Deaths: 42
    - Begin date: March 2, 2012
    - End date: March 3, 2012

    On March 2, 2012, 75 confirmed tornadoes took place across the Southeast and Ohio Valley, including Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky, to name a few. Clark County, Indiana, was one of the hardest-hit areas as it experienced an EF-4 tornado with winds of up to 175 mph. The tornado left a 49-mile path of "total devastation," according to one Indiana state police sergeant.

  • #86. Colorado hail storm and central severe weather (2017)

    - Cost: $3.6 billion
    - Deaths: 0
    - Begin date: May 8, 2017
    - End date: May 11, 2017

    The hailstorm that hit Colorado, along with other states such as Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas, was the costliest in the history of the state and resulted in 200,000 auto and home insurance claims being filed. The Denver metro region experienced especially adverse impacts, with baseball-sized hail damaging homes and infrastructure. In the state of Colorado alone, there were $2.2 billion in losses.

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  • #85. Hurricane Juan (1985)

    - Cost: $3.7 billion
    - Deaths: 63
    - Begin date: Oct. 27, 1985
    - End date: Oct. 31, 1985

    In October 1985, Hurricane Juan, a Category 1 hurricane, made landfall near Morgan City, Louisiana. The slow-moving hurricane caused flooding in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The storm had an especially negative impact on agriculture. There were heavy topsoil losses, and some farmers estimated that as much as half of the soybean crop was lost during the hurricane. Pecans, which had been walloped during Hurricane Elena the month before, floated away in the flood.

  • #84. Midwest tornadoes and severe weather (2008)

    - Cost: $3.7 billion
    - Deaths: 13
    - Begin date: May 22, 2008
    - End date: May 27, 2008

    An outbreak of 235 confirmed tornadoes over the Midwest and Ohio Valley regions in May 2008 cost $3.7 billion and left 13 people dead. On May 25, an EF-5 tornado hit Parkersburg, Iowa, and killed seven people and damaged or destroyed over 600 homes and 21 businesses. It was the strongest tornado the state had seen since 1976.

  • #83. Midwest/Ohio Valley severe weather (2012)

    - Cost: $3.7 billion
    - Deaths: 1
    - Begin date: April 28, 2012
    - End date: May 1, 2012

    At the end of April 2012, severe weather that included at least 38 tornadoes caused $3.7 billion in damage in the Midwest and Ohio Valley. One person was killed during the storms, and considerable damage resulted from hail.

  • #82. North/central Texas hail storm (2016)

    - Cost: $3.8 billion
    - Deaths: 0
    - Begin date: April 10, 2016
    - End date: April 12, 2016

    In April 2016, severe hail caused $3.8 billion in damage across north and central Texas, including the cities of Plano, Frisco, and San Antonio. The damage in San Antonio was especially severe, as there were confirmed reports of hail size reaching 4.5 inches in diameter—that's bigger than a baseball. This was one of the costliest hail events in the United States, and all of 2016's hail events in Texas cost over $5 billion.

  • #81. West/Northeast/Southeast drought (2016)

    - Cost: $3.8 billion
    - Deaths: 0
    - Begin date: Jan. 1, 2016
    - End date: Dec. 31, 2016

    2016 was the fourth year of a five-year drought in California. By 2016, the years of drought had damaged over 100 million trees, and water supplies became stressed. The drought also impacted states in the Northeast and Southeast. In 2016, this drought cost $3.8 billion. In April 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown declared the state's drought over.

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