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Costliest US weather disasters of the last 40 years

  • #40. Hurricane Opal (1995)

    - Cost: $8.1 billion
    - Deaths: 27
    - Begin date: Oct. 4, 1995
    - End date: Oct. 6, 1995

    Hurricane Opal hit Pensacola, Florida as a Category 3 hurricane on October 4, 1995, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. After moving inland, it became weaker and was downgraded to a tropical storm and eventually to a tropical depression, as it moved across southern Alabama and into southeast Tennessee. Overall, it cost the United States $2.1 billion and caused 9 deaths.

  • #39. Hurricane Fran (1996)

    - Cost: $8.4 billion
    - Deaths: 37
    - Begin date: Sept. 5, 1996
    - End date: Sept. 8, 1996

    Hurricane Fran was a Category 3 hurricane that hit North Carolina and Virginia in September 1996, causing between 6 inches to 10 inches of rain in many places within 24 hours, and 13 inches in Brunswick County, North Carolina. The storm caused a lot of damage, leveling trees, causing extended power outages, breaking dams, and blocking roads. Overall, the storm led to $8.4 billion in costs and contributed to 37 deaths.

  • #38. U.S. drought (2008)

    - Cost: $8.6 billion
    - Deaths: 0
    - Begin date: Jan. 1, 2008
    - End date: Dec. 31, 2008

    Throughout 2008, severe drought and heat conditions led to agricultural losses throughout a large portion of the country, in states including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Montana, North Carolina, and New Jersey. In California, conditions got so bad that the state had the driest March to June up to that point since the record began in 1895, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared the first statewide drought in 17 years.

  • #37. Southern Plains severe weather (1995)

    - Cost: $9.4 billion
    - Deaths: 32
    - Begin date: May 5, 1995
    - End date: May 7, 1995

    Tornadoes, torrential rains, and hail battered parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi in May 1995. North Texas saw hail as large as grapefruits. Two people were killed and 12 injured when a roof collapsed at a manufacturing office in Dallas, and one teenager was struck by lightning and died from his injuries. Overall, 32 people died during this weather event.

  • #36. Hurricane Georges (1998)

    - Cost: $9.6 billion
    - Deaths: 16
    - Begin date: Sept. 20, 1998
    - End date: Sept. 29, 1998

    Hurricane Georges began as a tropical depression in the far eastern Atlantic, and by the time it reached Puerto Rico and Cuba, it had become a Category 4. It made landfall in the continental United States in Key West, Florida on Sept. 25 as a Category 2 hurricane. Parts of Florida and Alabama received 15 inches to 30 inches of rain over two days. The hurricane caused the United States $9.6 billion and caused 16 deaths.

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  • #35. East Coast blizzard and severe weather (1993)

    - Cost: $10.0 billion
    - Deaths: 270
    - Begin date: March 11, 1993
    - End date: March 14, 1993

    Called the "Storm of the Century," this blizzard impacted the entire East Coast from Florida to Maine, dumping 2 to 4 feet of snow and causing hurricane winds in many states. It led to power outages in over 10 million households and was the most destructive and costly winter storm to hit the United States since 1980, creating $10 billion in damages. Due to communication issues before the storm hit, the NOAA began a complete overhaul of how it communicated weather threats in the future, and the National Weather Service (NWS) accelerated the development of its prediction models, increasing its snowfall prediction accuracy from 37% to 75%.

  • #34. Hurricane Floyd (1999)

    - Cost: $10.2 billion
    - Deaths: 77
    - Begin date: Sept. 14, 1999
    - End date: Sept. 16, 1999

    Hurricane Floyd, a Category 2 hurricane that caused 10 inches to 20 inches of rain over two days in eastern North Carolina, was especially notable for its impact on agriculture and livestock. Millions of turkeys, pigs, and chickens drowned across coastal North Carolina, and hog lagoons overflowed with pig manure, which seeped into surface and groundwater and polluted drinking water.

  • #33. Hurricane Jeanne (2004)

    - Cost: $10.5 billion
    - Deaths: 28
    - Begin date: Sept. 15, 2004
    - End date: Sept. 29, 2004

    Category 3 Hurricane Jeanne caused heavy wind and flooding damage in east central Florida. It was the fourth big hurricane to hit the state in 2004. There was also some flooding in other eastern states like Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Delaware, and New York. Hurricane Jeanne also damaged Puerto Rico.

  • #32. Midwest/Southeast tornadoes (2011)

    - Cost: $10.6 billion
    - Deaths: 177
    - Begin date: May 22, 2011
    - End date: May 27, 2011

    May 2011 brought a string of an estimated 180 tornadoes over central and southern states. Joplin, Missouri was especially hard hit by an EF-5 tornado, which killed at least 160 people, making it the single deadliest tornado to hit the United States since tornado record-keeping began in 1950. Tens of thousands of people lost power around Joplin, and roughly 30% of its structures were damaged or destroyed.

  • #31. Louisiana flooding (2016)

    - Cost: $10.9 billion
    - Deaths: 13
    - Begin date: Aug. 12, 2016
    - End date: Aug. 15, 2016

    In August 2016, a historic flood dropped 20 to 30 inches of rain in southern Louisiana over just a few days, devastating the area. Watson, Louisiana, in particular, saw 31.39 inches of rain. More than 30,000 people needed to be rescued from the floodwaters, which damaged or destroyed over 50,000 homes along with 20,000 businesses and 100,000 vehicles. It was the most-damaging flood in the United States since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

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