Skip to main content

Main Area


Costliest US weather disasters of the last 40 years

  • #70. Western drought (2014)

    - Cost: $4.4 billion
    - Deaths: 0
    - Begin date: Jan. 1, 2014
    - End date: Dec. 31, 2014

    Dry conditions during the entire year of 2014 in California created the worst drought in the state's recorded history. 2014 was a continuation of a multi-year period without sufficient rainfall, and a study found that drought in the state from 2012 to 2014 was the worst dry spell in the state in 1,200 years. Surrounding states, along with parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, also experienced drought conditions during 2014.

  • #69. Western/Eastern drought/heat wave (2007)

    - Cost: $4.5 billion
    - Deaths: 15
    - Begin date: June 1, 2007
    - End date: Nov. 30, 2007

    From June to November 2007, there were multiple periods of extreme heat over many southeastern states and parts of the Great Plains, Ohio Valley, and Great Lakes. These hot weather periods caused drought, which led to losses in crop yields and low lake levels. In total, across 28 states, $4.5 billion was lost, and 15 people died.

  • #68. Arizona severe weather (2010)

    - Cost: $4.5 billion
    - Deaths: 0
    - Begin date: Oct. 5, 2010
    - End date: Oct. 6, 2010

    In October 2010, Arizona saw its largest tornado outbreak in the state's history. It also experienced the highest number of tornadoes to ever take place in a single event west of the Continental Divide. More than 100 buildings were damaged or destroyed by the tornadoes. In addition, large hail across Phoenix and surrounding cities damaged thousands of cars and buildings.

  • #67. Rockies, Central and Northeast tornadoes and severe weather (2019)

    - Cost: $4.5 billion
    - Deaths: 3
    - Begin date: May 26, 2019
    - End date: May 29, 2019

    Over Memorial Day weekend in 2019, tornadoes hit states across Central and Northeastern states as well as states in the Rockies. Over four days, there were 190 confirmed tornadoes, along with hail and heavy winds. An EF-4 tornado hit near the city of Dayton, Ohio. Montgomery County, where Dayton is located, experienced the first time that four tornadoes were part of the same weather event.

  • #66. California and Alaska wildfires (2019)

    - Cost: $4.5 billion
    - Deaths: 3
    - Begin date: June 1, 2019
    - End date: Nov. 30, 2019

    From June through November 2019, California experienced an especially severe wildfire season from the Kincade and Saddle Ridge wildfires. In addition, a provider of electricity in the state turned off power for millions of businesses and homes during especially risky days when there were high winds and dry conditions. While this did minimize wildfires to some extent, it caused billions of dollars in losses. Alaska also suffered wildfires during this period, and the total amount of money lost was $4.5 billion.

    You may also like: Fastest-warming states in the U.S.

  • #65. Northeast winter storm (1992)

    - Cost: $4.6 billion
    - Deaths: 19
    - Begin date: Dec. 10, 1992
    - End date: Dec. 13, 1992

    The Downslope Nor' easter took place in December 1992 and caused tremendous snowfall in many mountain locations, while having little effect in valleys. In the Berkshires, located in Massachusetts and Connecticut, snowfall ranged from 30 inches to 48 inches, schools were shut down for a week, and the National Guard had to come and remove the snow. In Albany, New York, the winter of 1992 is still one of the snowiest on record for the city, with 94.2 inches.

  • #64. Midwest/Ohio Valley hail and tornadoes (2001)

    - Cost: $4.6 billion
    - Deaths: 3
    - Begin date: April 6, 2001
    - End date: April 11, 2001

    Over a six-day period in April 2001, storms, hail, and tornadoes hit many states in the Midwest, including Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, and Michigan. In Lowellville, Ohio, a twister with winds of up to 115 mph destroyed garages and porches and even took the roof off of one business. Over the entire six-day period and throughout 14 states, there was $4.6 billion of damage, and three people were killed.

  • #63. West Coast flooding (1997)

    - Cost: $4.9 billion
    - Deaths: 36
    - Begin date: Jan. 1, 1997
    - End date: Jan. 11, 1997

    December 1996 and the first week of January 1997 saw high levels of rain and snow in parts of western states like California, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, and Washington. In addition, unusually-warm temperatures in some areas produced snowmelt, which, along with the rain, resulted in heavy flooding. As many as half a million people were forced to evacuate during this time.

  • #62. Blizzard/floods (1996)

    - Cost: $5.0 billion
    - Deaths: 187
    - Begin date: Jan. 1, 1996
    - End date: Jan. 31, 1996

    In January 1996, a very heavy snowstorm saw up to 4 feet of snow in various locations across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Appalachians. Overall, the blizzard did a lot of damage across the region. For example, in New York City, a church roof collapsed in the Harlem neighborhood, and barns across Pennsylvania collapsed under the weight of snow. In total, the storm caused $5 billion in damage and 187 deaths.

  • #61. Western drought (2015)

    - Cost: $5.0 billion
    - Deaths: 0
    - Begin date: Jan. 1, 2015
    - End date: Dec. 31, 2015

    Throughout 2015, numerous states, such as Arizona, California, Oklahoma, and Texas, experienced heavy drought conditions. California was hit especially hard, as its agricultural sector was impacted when thousands of acres of farmland remained fallow. In addition, the state was experiencing wildfires. Across western states, this drought cost $5 billion in 2015.

    You may also like: States with the most hailstorms

2018 All rights reserved.