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Costliest US weather disasters of the last 40 years

  • #30. Hurricane Matthew (2016)

    - Cost: $10.9 billion
    - Deaths: 49
    - Begin date: Oct. 8, 2016
    - End date: Oct. 12, 2016

    Hurricane Matthew was the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season's most powerful storm and was responsible for extreme rainfall and deadly flooding. Because of how destructive this hurricane was, the name Matthew was officially retired from the list of Atlantic hurricane names. It hit eastern North Carolina especially hard. Before Matthew, the Carolinas were impacted by four tropical cyclones in 2016: Bonnie, Colin, Hermine, and Julia.

  • #29. Missouri River and North Central Nebraska flooding (2019)

    - Cost: $10.9 billion
    - Deaths: 3
    - Begin date: March 14, 2019
    - End date: March 31, 2019

    In March 2019, severe flooding occurred across the Midwest, inundating acres of agriculture, cities, and towns, and damaging infrastructure. Nebraska was one of the hardest-hit states, where the worst flooding took place across rivers in the Loup River system as well as along the Cedar River and Wood River. Damage in the surrounding areas was due not only to high water levels but also to the breakup of thick river ice.

  • #28. Western/plains drought and heat wave (2013)

    - Cost: $11.7 billion
    - Deaths: 53
    - Begin date: March 1, 2013
    - End date: Nov. 30, 2013

    The historic drought levels of 2012 continued into 2013, although conditions did slowly improve. The Midwest began the year with 54.9% of the region experiencing drought. By June, this drought was nearly eliminated. However, in July, the rains stopped falling, and the drought area percentage went back up to 32%, and in the Midwest, July through September was drier in 2013 than in 2012. In addition, throughout 2013, moderate to extreme drought conditions remained in western states.

  • #27. Southeast/Ohio Valley/Midwest tornadoes (2011)

    - Cost: $12.0 billion
    - Deaths: 321
    - Begin date: April 25, 2011
    - End date: April 28, 2011

    In April 2011, there was a tornado outbreak over some central and southern states, with an estimated 343 tornadoes. Alabama was especially badly hit by an EF-5 tornado that damaged many metropolitan areas such as Birmingham, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa. In total, 321 people died. During the crisis, the NWS was able to maintain an average warning lead time of 24 minutes. They say that this lead time allowed families to prepare for or escape from the disaster.

  • #26. Midwest flooding (2008)

    - Cost: $12.2 billion
    - Deaths: 24
    - Begin date: April 1, 2008
    - End date: June 30, 2008

    From April 2008 through June 2008, flooding caused by heavy rains led to agricultural losses and property damage in several Midwest states. Iowa was the hardest hit, and on June 13, the Cedar River crested at 31.12 feet and displaced over 18,000 residents. In addition, Iowa City experienced floodwaters cresting at around 31.5 feet on June 15. It was the city's largest flood of record and covered approximately 1,600 acres.

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  • #25. Tropical Storm Allison (2001)

    - Cost: $12.6 billion
    - Deaths: 43
    - Begin date: June 5, 2001
    - End date: June 17, 2001

    Tropical Storm Allison dropped 30 to 40 inches of rain over parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana in June 2001. After Allison made landfall in Texas, it caused severe flooding in the Houston area. Fatalities and significant damage also took place in Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

  • #24. U.S. drought (2002)

    - Cost: $13.1 billion
    - Deaths: 0
    - Begin date: March 1, 2002
    - End date: Nov. 30, 2002

    From March 2002 through November 2002, moderate to extreme drought occurred in large portions of over 30 states in the United States, from the west through the Great Plains and into the east. By the end of November, precipitation increased, and more-frequent storms began to alleviate the drought.

  • #23. Hurricane Frances (2004)

    - Cost: $13.7 billion
    - Deaths: 48
    - Begin date: Sept. 3, 2004
    - End date: Sept. 9, 2004

    In September 2004, Hurricane Frances, a Category 2 storm, made landfall in East Central Florida. It caused significant damage to marinas, bridges, docks, piers, seawalls, and boats, along with 15,000 houses and 2,400 businesses in Palm Beach County in Florida. In addition, many people reported power outages. In total, across multiple states, the storm cost $13.7 billion and contributed to the deaths of 48 people.

  • #22. Southern Plains/Southwest drought and heat wave (2011)

    - Cost: $14.0 billion
    - Deaths: 95
    - Begin date: March 1, 2011
    - End date: Aug. 31, 2011

    From March 2011 through August 2011, a heat wave and drought hit Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, along with parts of Kansas and Louisiana. From January to October 2011, Texas got only 11 inches of rain, which is less than half the average amount. Oklahoma experienced its third driest January-October period in recorded history. The drought was detrimental to agriculture in both states.

  • #21. Hurricane Irene (2011)

    - Cost: $15.8 billion
    - Deaths: 45
    - Begin date: Aug. 26, 2011
    - End date: Aug. 28, 2011

    Hurricane Irene was a Category 1 hurricane that made landfall over coastal North Carolina and moved north up the Mid-Atlantic coast, from Virginia all the way up to Vermont. Although Vermont is not a coastal state, it experienced as much as 11 inches of rain in certain parts and suffered $733 million in damages. After this hurricane, to make the state more resilient when dealing with future hurricanes and inclement weather, Vermont provided its municipalities funding to do river restoration work to make flooding less likely.

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