Costliest US weather disasters of the last 40 years

Written by:
August 20, 2020
Scott Olson // Getty Images

Costliest US weather disasters of the last 40 years

Extreme weather events are sometimes called "acts of God," alluding to the fact that humans have no control over when they arrive or what they do. While this may be somewhat true, extreme weather like hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, droughts, heatwaves, freezes, and fires are impacted by the climate, and as the climate changes, these events are becoming more frequent and more severe. California's fire season has increased, resulting in longer and more severe fires, like the bout it is currently experiencing. While wildfires rage through California with particular ferocity this season, the state is no stranger to the impact such devastation wreaks on life, land, and state budget.

These weather disasters have huge impacts on lives and on the economy, often costing billions of dollars in damage. To uncover the costliest weather events of the last 40 years, Stacker consulted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters database. The table is updated whenever a disaster reaches a total CPI-adjusted estimated cost of a billion dollars, and was released and updated in 2020.

Looking at the top 100 weather events, some patterns emerged. For example, 30 of these 100 disasters were hurricanes, as were all the top six costliest events. And seven of the top 10 costliest weather disasters took place after the year 2000, and five of these occurred in the last 10 years.

While the size of the weather impact influences the cost of weather events, they are also a result of preparation and management before and after disasters. This was made apparent by the top three disasters on Stacker's list: Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Harvey, and Hurricane Katrina. The places hit by these hurricanes suffered from poor planning and lack of resources before the storms hit, and the people most impacted were not given proper aid after the fact.

The costs of these events come from damage to infrastructure, loss of businesses, and destruction of crops. And while the dollar amounts that some of these events cost are startling, human costs from weather disasters are even more striking.

#100. Oklahoma and Kansas tornadoes (1999)

- Cost: $3.2 billion
- Deaths: 55
- Begin date: May 3, 1999
- End date: May 6, 1999

From May 3 to May 4, 1999, multiple thunderstorms produced at least 70 large F4-F5 tornadoes throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Tennessee. These tornadoes cost $3.2 billion in damage and killed 55 people. However, technologies in tornado research allowed the National Severe Storms Laboratory and other NOAA research laboratories to provide the public with accurate warnings, saving at least an estimated 600 lives.

#99. Midwest tornadoes (2006)

- Cost: $3.2 billion
- Deaths: 27
- Begin date: April 13, 2006
- End date: April 16, 2006

In April 2006, tornadoes and severe weather caused $3.2 billion in damage across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Overall, between April 13 and 16, 27 people died. Indiana alone experienced over $1 billion in damage. Iowa City and the University of Iowa also suffered significant damage.

#98. East/South severe weather and flooding (2007)

- Cost: $3.2 billion
- Deaths: 9
- Begin date: April 13, 2007
- End date: April 17, 2007

Between April 13 and April 17, 2007, severe weather events such as flooding, hail, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms occurred across several states from the northeastern to the southern United States. In total, these different events cost $3.2 billion and killed nine people. Texas, one of the states which suffered during this period, was then hit by an additional killer tornado just a few days later.

#97. Midwest/Southeast tornadoes (2011)

- Cost: $3.2 billion
- Deaths: 9
- Begin date: April 4, 2011
- End date: April 5, 2011

The month of April in 2011 was one of the "most active, destructive, and deadly tornado months on record for the United States," according to the NOAA. On April 4, an outbreak of an estimated 46 tornadoes over central and southern states such as Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee cost $3.2 billion in damage and caused nine deaths.

#96. Hurricane Isaac (2012)

- Cost: $3.2 billion
- Deaths: 9
- Begin date: Aug. 26, 2012
- End date: Aug. 31, 2012

On the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana, along with Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, experienced the impact of Hurricane Isaac, a Category 1 hurricane, which included a large storm surge and flooding rains. The hurricane caused $3.2 billion of damage and nine deaths—five direct and four indirect. Parts of the region also experienced power outages. As of November 2012, nearly $365.3 million in state and federal aid had been approved for Louisiana. However, even a year later, some Louisianans relied on donations and volunteers to get back on their feet.

#95. Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland flooding (1985)

- Cost: $3.3 billion
- Deaths: 62
- Begin date: Nov. 3, 1985
- End date: Nov. 8, 1985

The Election Day floods, which caused $3.3 billion in damage and 62 deaths in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, were caused by the remnants of Hurricane Juan moving north from Louisiana. In West Virginia alone, the estimated cost of the floods was $700 million. According to an article from West Virginia's Metro News, it took months before things were back to semi-normal and years until the damage was fully cleaned up.

#94. Plains/East/Northeast severe weather (2012)

- Cost: $3.3 billion
- Deaths: 28
- Begin date: June 29, 2012
- End date: July 2, 2012

On June 29, 2012, a severe thunderstorm complex, known as a derecho, passed through several eastern, midwestern, and southern states. It was especially damaging in Washington D.C., where it caused wind gusts of 60-80 mph, downing hundreds of trees and leaving over 1 million area residents without electricity. Overall, it led to $3.3 billion in damages and 28 deaths.

#93. Central and Eastern winter storm, cold wave (2015)

- Cost: $3.3 billion
- Deaths: 30
- Begin date: Feb. 14, 2015
- End date: Feb. 20, 2015

Winter storms between Feb. 14 and Feb. 20, 2015, helped contribute to Boston's snowiest year on record. Boston was also especially impacted by these storms as they caused load-stress on buildings and clogged transportation corridors. The total cost of these storms down the east coast was $3.3 billion, and Massachusetts alone experienced $1 billion in damage. These storms also caused 30 deaths.

#92. Hurricane Dennis (2005)

- Cost: $3.4 billion
- Deaths: 15
- Begin date: July 9, 2005
- End date: July 11, 2005

In July 2005, Hurricane Dennis came up from the Caribbean to Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. It caused $3.4 billion in damages on the southern tip of Florida and the loss of power for 211,000 homes and businesses. The storm was a Category 4 in the Caribbean but downgraded to a Category 3 by the time it arrived in Florida. Hurricane Dennis also killed 32 people in Cuba and Haiti before entering the United States.

#91. Western and Alaskan wildfires (2015)

- Cost: $3.4 billion
- Deaths: 12
- Begin date: June 1, 2015
- End date: Nov. 30, 2015

Between June 2015 and November 2015, wildfires burned over 10.1 million acres across the United States, surpassing 2006 for the highest annual total of U.S. acreage burned since record-keeping began in 1960. The costliest wildfires occurred in California, where over 2,500 structures were destroyed. The most extensive fires took place in Alaska, where over 5 million acres were burned. In total, the fires caused $3.4 billion in damage and killed 12 people.

#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.

#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.

#80. Eastern drought/heat wave (1999)

- Cost: $3.9 billion
- Deaths: 502
- Begin date: June 1, 1999
- End date: Aug. 31, 1999

In the summer of 1999, very high temperatures and low precipitation caused a drought and heat wave across many states in the eastern United States, such as Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The drought and heat wave caused extensive agricultural losses. By August, the governors of Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania declared drought emergencies, and eleven localities in Virginia sought federal assistance.

#79. California freeze (1998)

- Cost: $4.0 billion
- Deaths: 0
- Begin date: Dec. 20, 1998
- End date: Dec. 28, 1998

In December 1998, a severe eight-day freeze caused by air from the Gulf of Alaska destroyed more than a third of California's annual citrus crop and tripled orange prices in the supermarket. The freeze caused temperatures in the high teens and low 20s and was the worst cold spell in California's Central Valley since a 10-day freeze in 1990.

#78. Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas tornadoes and severe weather (2010)

- Cost: $4.0 billion
- Deaths: 3
- Begin date: May 10, 2010
- End date: May 12, 2010

A weather event with tornadoes, hail, and severe thunderstorms caused $4 billion in damage across Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. The storms caused winds of 50 to 60 mph, and there was an EF-3 tornado near the Kansas border. Oklahoma suffered the worst impact, and three people were killed.

#77. Western storms and flooding (1982)

- Cost: $4.1 billion
- Deaths: 50
- Begin date: Dec. 13, 1982
- End date: March 31, 1983

From December 1982 through March 1983, severe storms and flooding in states such as Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Montana caused 50 deaths and cost $4.1 billion.

#76. Rockies/Midwest/East severe weather (2014)

- Cost: $4.1 billion
- Deaths: 0
- Begin date: May 18, 2014
- End date: May 23, 2014

In May 2014, severe storms occurred across the Rockies and Midwestern and Eastern states such as Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Colorado, Illinois, and Pennsylvania experienced the costliest damage. In Colorado, golf ball-sized hail piled up 4 inches deep 40 miles outside Denver, and 40 flights had to be diverted.

#75. Gulf states storms and flooding (1982)

- Cost: $4.2 billion
- Deaths: 45
- Begin date: Dec. 1, 1982
- End date: Jan. 15, 1983

In early December 1982, storms caused flooding to occur in the central and southern Mississippi River basin. Later that month, more storms caused severe flooding in Louisiana and moderate flooding in Mississippi. These storms and flooding combined cost $4.2 billion and killed 45 people.

#74. Southeast drought/heat wave (1986)

- Cost: $4.3 billion
- Deaths: 100
- Begin date: June 1, 1986
- End date: Aug. 31, 1986

After an unusually dry winter, states across the southeastern United States, such as Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, experienced one of the most challenging periods of drought in history. In July, extremely high temperatures combined with this drought made for especially difficult conditions for people, animals, and crops. In Manning, South Carolina, for example, temperatures reached 100 degrees 23 times in July 1986.

#73. Florida freeze (1989)

- Cost: $4.3 billion
- Deaths: 10
- Begin date: Dec. 23, 1989
- End date: Dec. 25, 1989

Over Christmas of 1989, temperatures dropped to the teens, freezing citrus crops and killing trees. According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, the freeze was a "turning point" in the history of Lake County because it was when many grove owners gave up on growing citrus and sold their land to developers instead. Overall, the freeze caused 10 deaths in the state and $4.3 billion in damages.

#72. California flooding (1995)

- Cost: $4.3 billion
- Deaths: 27
- Begin date: Jan. 1, 1995
- End date: March 31, 1995

From January to March 1995, strong storms in California caused such destructive floods that led to declarations of federal disaster in 57 of the state's 58 counties. Waters rose to record levels, bridges collapsed, and downtowns of cities like San Jose flooded. The Sacramento River Valley was hit especially hard due to storm drainage system failures.

#71. Southwest/Great Plains drought (2009)

- Cost: $4.3 billion
- Deaths: 0
- Begin date: Jan. 1, 2009
- End date: Dec. 31, 2009

In 2009, drought conditions exposed many Texas counties to more drought than they had experienced since 2000. September 2008 until September 2009 was one of the driest one-year periods to date for Texas. Overall, the drought cost the state's cattle industry over $1 billion. The drought also impacted other states, such as Oklahoma, California, and New Mexico. In total, it cost $4.3 billion.

#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.

#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.

#60. Tropical storm Imelda (2019)

- Cost: $5.1 billion
- Deaths: 5
- Begin date: Sept. 17, 2019
- End date: Sept. 21, 2019

Over three days, tropical storm Imelda caused between 24 inches and 36 inches of rain to fall across an area of Texas between Houston and Beaumont. This extraordinary rainfall led to at least 1,000 high-water rescues and evacuations. In addition, over 900 flights were canceled or delayed in Houston.

#59. Freeze, cold wave (1983)

- Cost: $5.3 billion
- Deaths: 151
- Begin date: Dec. 15, 1983
- End date: Dec. 25, 1983

In December 1983, freezing temperatures hit southern states, including Florida, Georgia, and Texas. This freeze caused 151 deaths. Drivers who were unaccustomed to driving on ice slid into one another, and frozen pipes forced people to leave their homes. In addition, homeless shelters were crowded as unhomed people looked for shelter from the cold. And in Texas, shipments of citrus were embargoed for 10 days because frost damage often does not show on the outside of fruit for several days, and the Texas Valley Citrus Committee wanted to maintain quality.

#58. Southeast ice storm (1994)

- Cost: $5.3 billion
- Deaths: 9
- Begin date: Feb. 8, 1994
- End date: Feb. 13, 1994


An especially-severe ice storm hit southeastern states including Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas in February 1994. The storm was unusual for two reasons: its areal extent was much larger than what is usually seen in ice storms, and rainfall amounts were much higher than would be expected for an ice storm. The storm damaged electric utilities and communications, and overall caused $5.5 billion in damage and nine deaths.

#57. California wildfires (2003)

- Cost: $5.5 billion
- Deaths: 22
- Begin date: Sept. 1, 2003
- End date: Nov. 30, 2003

Between September 2003 and November 2003, wildfires burned through Southern California and other western states, including Alaska. In October, a fire known as the Old Fire ignited in the San Bernardino Mountains and was one of the most devastating fires ever to strike the area. The Old Fire was man-made and was just one part of a massive firestorm that razed the area for weeks. Overall, the month of October was called the "California Fire Siege of 2003" by fire officials.

#56. Southern drought/heat wave (1998)

- Cost: $5.6 billion
- Deaths: 200
- Begin date: June 1, 1998
- End date: Aug. 31, 1998

The summer of 1998 saw unusually-high temperatures and drought conditions in southern states from Texas and Oklahoma all the way east to the Carolinas and Virginia. The month of June 1998 saw record highs for near-surface global ocean and land temperatures. Even though central Pacific Ocean temperatures had declined due to a recent El Niño event and the beginning of La Niña events, ocean temperatures for the month were at record highs.

#55. U.S. drought (1991)

- Cost: $5.8 billion
- Deaths: 0
- Begin date: March 1, 1991
- End date: Aug. 31, 1991

1991 saw an extreme heat wave and an associated drought that impacted states across the United States. In Louisville, Kentucky, only 7.57 inches of rain fell from June through August, when the average is 11.06 inches. In addition, temperatures in the area that summer were the third-warmest on record up to that point. Overall, throughout several states, the drought caused $5.8 billion in damage.

#54. Hurricane Iniki (1992)

- Cost: $5.8 billion
- Deaths: 7
- Begin date: Sept. 11, 1992
- End date: Sept. 12, 1992

In September 1992, Category 4 storm Hurricane Iniki hit the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The hurricane damaged or destroyed 14,350 homes, and of Kauai's population of just over 51,000 people at the time, around 12,000 needed to be accommodated in public shelters after the storm. The island of Oahu was also hit, and an estimated third of their population had to be evacuated. Seven people died, making it the deadliest hurricane to affect Hawaii since 1990.

#53. Severe storms/tornadoes (2003)

- Cost: $5.9 billion
- Deaths: 51
- Begin date: May 3, 2003
- End date: May 10, 2003

From May 4 to May 10, 2003, approximately 400 tornadoes were reported throughout the Midwest, Mississippi Valley, Ohio and Tennessee valleys, and portions of the Southeast, creating one of the most-severe periods of weather ever documented in the United States. Overall, it caused $5.9 billion in damages and 51 deaths.

#52. Northern Plains flooding (1997)

- Cost: $6.0 billion
- Deaths: 11
- Begin date: Feb. 3, 1997
- End date: May 24, 1997

Heavy snowmelt caused severe flooding in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota between February and May 1997. On April 17, the Red River broke the 100-year flood crest record in Fargo, North Dakota. Federal disaster aid was provided for some people in North and South Dakota and parts of Minnesota. Overall, 11 people were killed in the floods, which cost $6 billion in damages.

#51. Oakland firestorm (1991)

- Cost: $6.3 billion
- Deaths: 25
- Begin date: Oct. 1, 1991
- End date: Oct. 31, 1991

In October 1991, a firestorm that burned over 3,000 homes took place in Oakland, California. When it occurred, it was the costliest urban wildfire to affect the United States since 1980. The fire, which caused 25 deaths and cost $6.3 billion, led to improvements in fire and emergency policies and equipment and the use of more-fireproof materials in buildings.

#50. Southern Plains flooding (2019)

- Cost: $6.3 billion
- Deaths: 4
- Begin date: March 15, 2019
- End date: July 31, 2019

States across the Southern Plains experienced heavy flooding in the Great Flood of 2019. These floods impacted agriculture, bridges, roads, and other infrastructure in towns and cities. The states most affected were Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The 12 months that ended in May 2019 were the wettest period on record in the United States, with nearly 38 inches of rainfall.

#49. Northern Plains drought (1989)

- Cost: $6.4 billion
- Deaths: 0
- Begin date: June 1, 1989
- End date: Nov. 30, 1989

In 1989, a severe summer drought over much of the northern plains caused significant agricultural losses. The overall cost was $6.4 billion, and the impact stretched across multiple states including Colorado, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, and Texas.

#48. California freeze (1990)

- Cost: $6.9 billion
- Deaths: 0
- Begin date: Dec. 18, 1990
- End date: Dec. 25, 1990

Severe freezing temperatures in the Central and Southern San Joaquin Valley killed a large portion of California's citrus crop along with its avocados, strawberries, carrots, lettuce, and other vegetables. This freeze caused citrus prices to go up, as California produced 26% of the nation's orange crop in 1990.

#47. Western/Central drought/heat wave (2003)

- Cost: $7.1 billion
- Deaths: 35
- Begin date: March 1, 2003
- End date: Nov. 30, 2003

From March 2003 through November 2003, drought across the central and western United States caused significant agricultural losses in states such as Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. The overall cost was $7.1 billion, and 35 people died as a result of the drought and heat wave.

#46. Hurricane Gustav (2008)

- Cost: $7.4 billion
- Deaths: 53
- Begin date: Aug. 31, 2008
- End date: Sept. 3, 2008

On Sept. 1, 2008, Category 2 Hurricane Gustav made landfall in southeast Louisiana, causing heavy rains for the following two days. Rainfalls of 5 to 7 inches were recorded across parts of southern Mississippi, northwest Florida, and coastal Alabama, with 6 to 9 inches in Mobile County, Alabama. The hurricane cost $7.4 billion and killed 53 people.

#45. Western/Central/Southeast drought/heat wave (2000)

- Cost: $7.6 billion
- Deaths: 140
- Begin date: March 1, 2000
- End date: Nov. 30, 2000

From March 2000 through November 2000, many parts of the United States experienced drought, with especially-intense periods during the summer between June and August. By August, 35% of the lower 48 states were experiencing severe to extreme drought. The drought cost $7.6 billion and caused the deaths of 140 people.

#44. Southeast drought (1983)

- Cost: $7.8 billion
- Deaths: 0
- Begin date: June 1, 1983
- End date: Aug. 31, 1983

A drought during the summer of 1983 caused agricultural losses, specifically corn and soybean crops. The drought impacted southeastern states such as Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia, and cost $7.8 billion.

#43. Hurricane Isabel (2003)

- Cost: $7.8 billion
- Deaths: 55
- Begin date: Sept. 18, 2003
- End date: Sept. 19, 2003

Hurricane Isabel was a Category 2 hurricane. It was one of the most damaging storms to impact the Mid-Atlantic states since 1972. It hit states like Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, and New York, along with Washington, D.C. In the U.S. capital, Isabel caused severe flooding, tree damage, and power losses.

#42. Midwest/Plains/Southeast drought (2006)

- Cost: $7.8 billion
- Deaths: 0
- Begin date: March 1, 2006
- End date: Aug. 31, 2006

2006 began as a drier than average year from the Great Plains to the Southwest, along with the coastal Southeast. In the Great Plains region specifically, crops were especially impacted during the spring and summer in states such as North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. The percentage of areas in the United States (not including Hawaii and Alaska) experiencing drought was 20% in January but had risen to 52% by that July.

#41. Hurricane Alicia (1983)

- Cost: $7.9 billion
- Deaths: 21
- Begin date: Aug. 17, 1983
- End date: Aug. 20, 1983

Hurricane Alicia was a Category 3 hurricane that made landfall near Galveston, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. It was the first hurricane to hit the United States mainland since Hurricane Allen in 1980. It was the costliest storm to have ever hit Texas at the time, and due to its level of destruction, the name Alicia was retired. It cost $7.9 billion and killed 21 people.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#20. Western wildfires, California firestorm (2017)

- Cost: $18.9 billion
- Deaths: 54
- Begin date: June 1, 2017
- End date: Dec. 31, 2017

Wildfires took place in the West between June 2017 and January 2018. In California, these fires were especially bad in October, when they destroyed 15,000 homes, businesses, and other buildings. 2017 was the state's worst wildfire year to date. Throughout all six months, wildfires burned over 9.8 million acres across California. Montana experienced 1 million acres of burning.

#19. Hurricane Hugo (1989)

- Cost: $19.3 billion
- Deaths: 86
- Begin date: Sept. 21, 1989
- End date: Sept. 22, 1989

In September 1989, Category 4 Hurricane Hugo devastated North and South Carolina with storm surges of roughly 20 feet and severe wind damage. In Charlotte, North Carolina's largest city, homes lost power, businesses shut down, and life pretty much came to a halt. Crews worked for weeks after the storm to clean up the damage and debris.

#18. Hurricane Charley (2004)

- Cost: $22.4 billion
- Deaths: 35
- Begin date: Aug. 13, 2004
- End date: Aug. 14, 2004

Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall in southwest Florida in August 2004, which resulted in major wind and water damage in the state, along with some damage in North and South Carolina. In Florida, this was the most devastating storm since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. In Tampa Bay, the evacuation undertaken in response to this hurricane was, at the time, the largest in the region's history.

#17. Hurricane Florence (2018)

- Cost: $24.5 billion
- Deaths: 53
- Begin date: Sept. 13, 2018
- End date: Sept. 16, 2018

In September 2018, Hurricane Florence produced extreme rainfall across eastern North and South Carolina, which received up to 35.93 inches and 23.81 inches of rain, respectively. In North Carolina, the total damage from Hurricane Florence was more than the cost of Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999 combined.

#16. Western wildfires, California firestorm (2018)

- Cost: $24.7 billion
- Deaths: 106
- Begin date: June 1, 2018
- End date: Dec. 31, 2018

In 2018, California experienced its largest, deadliest, and most expensive wildfires on record at that time. Of the multiple fires California experienced from June to December of that year, the Camp Fire was the costliest and deadliest, destroying over 18,500 buildings. The Mendocino Complex fire was also the largest the state had ever experienced, burning over 290,692 acres.

#15. Hurricane Rita (2005)

- Cost: $25.2 billion
- Deaths: 119
- Begin date: Sept. 20, 2005
- End date: Sept. 24, 2005

When Hurricane Rita hit the Texas-Louisiana border coastal region in September 2005, it caused flooding and wind damage in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. In Houston, anxiety about Hurricane Rita caused the worst traffic jam in the city's history, a gridlock that, for some, wouldn't end for a full 24 hours.

#14. Hurricane Michael (2018)

- Cost: $25.5 billion
- Deaths: 49
- Begin date: Oct. 10, 2018
- End date: Oct. 11, 2018

Hurricane Michael was a powerful Category 5 hurricane that made landfall on Mexico Beach, Florida on Oct. 10, 2018. The hurricane brought winds of 160 mph and storm surges larger than 15 feet, nearly destroying Mexico Beach and extensively damaging Panama City. In addition, Tyndall Air Force Base, located 12 miles from Panama City, suffered a direct hit from the storm, which cost billions in damages. Hurricane Michael was the first Category 5 storm to hit the United States mainland since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

#13. Hurricane Wilma (2005)

- Cost: $25.8 billion
- Deaths: 35
- Begin date: Oct. 24, 2005
- End date: Oct. 24, 2005

Hurricane Wilma was a Category 3 storm that hit Southwest Florida on Oct. 24, 2005, causing damaging winds and floods across the region. Before it hit Florida, Wilma had become a Category 5 hurricane and the most-intense storm in Atlantic history.

#12. Hurricane Ivan (2004)

- Cost: $28.7 billion
- Deaths: 57
- Begin date: Sept. 12, 2004
- End date: Sept. 21, 2004

Hurricane Ivan was a Category 3 storm that made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Alabama on Sept. 16, 2004, at 2:10 a.m. Ivan brought with it a storm surge, heavy winds, and flooding damage in coastal Alabama and along the Florida panhandle. There was also wind and flooding damage in other states, from Georgia and Mississippi all the way up to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The storm produced 117 tornadoes and had a lifespan of 22.5 days and a path of 5,600 nautical miles.

#11. Central/Eastern drought/heat wave (1980)

- Cost: $33.3 billion
- Deaths: 1,260
- Begin date: June 1, 1980
- End date: Nov. 30, 1980

From June to November 1980, central and eastern states saw an intense heat wave and drought that damaged agriculture and other related industries and caused a total of 10,000 direct and indirect deaths. In Texas, the summer of 1980 broke or tied 29 daily heat records. The hottest days were 113 degrees on both June 26 and June 27, and the Dallas region experienced a 42-day string of 100-degree days.

#10. U.S. drought/heat wave (2012)

- Cost: $34.2 billion
- Deaths: 123
- Begin date: Jan. 1, 2012
- End date: Dec. 31, 2012

The year of 2012 was the most extensive drought to impact the United States since the 1930s, affecting more than half the country for the majority of the year. States from California and Montana to Texas, Iowa, and Georgia were all hit. The drought caused harvest losses for corn, sorghum, and soybean, among other crops. A summer heat wave also caused 123 direct deaths and an unknown number of indirect deaths.

#9. Hurricane Ike (2008)

- Cost: $36.9 billion
- Deaths: 112
- Begin date: Sept. 12, 2008
- End date: Sept. 14, 2008


Hurricane Ike was a Category 2 hurricane that made landfall in Texas as the largest Atlantic hurricane on record (based on its size). It caused significant wind and flooding damage. Some trees downed during the hurricane in Galveston were eventually transformed into art by local sculptors.

#8. Midwest flooding (1993)

- Cost: $37.9 billion
- Deaths: 48
- Begin date: June 27, 1993
- End date: Aug. 15, 1993

An especially-wet fall in 1992, leading to above-average soil moisture and reservoir levels in the Upper Mississippi and Missouri River basins, helped cause the Great Flood of 1993, which covered nine states and 400,000 square miles. In some locations, the flood lasted nearly 200 days. Barge traffic on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers was stopped for almost two months, and bridges were not accessible on the Mississippi River between Davenport, Iowa and St. Louis, Missouri. Overall, it cost $37.9 billion.

#7. U.S. drought/heat wave (1988)

- Cost: $44.8 billion
- Deaths: 454
- Begin date: June 1, 1988
- End date: Aug. 31, 1988

The summer of 1988 saw a heat wave and drought that impacted a large portion of the United States and was responsible for between 5,000 and 10,000 indirect deaths. The drought and heat wave led to severe agricultural and related losses.

#6. Hurricane Andrew (1992)

- Cost: $50.5 billion
- Deaths: 61
- Begin date: Aug. 23, 1992
- End date: Aug. 27, 1992

Hurricane Andrew was a Category 5 storm that hit Florida in August 1992 before affecting Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane. In Dade County, Florida, the storm destroyed over 125,000 homes and left at least 160,000 people homeless. Andrew was the third-strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States since reliable record-keeping began. It caused winds of up to 165 mph.

#5. Hurricane Irma (2017)

- Cost: $52.5 billion
- Deaths: 97
- Begin date: Sept. 6, 2017
- End date: Sept. 12, 2017

Hurricane Irma began as a Category 5 storm and devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands before landing in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm. 25% of the buildings in the Keys were destroyed, and 65% were significantly damaged. The hurricane maintained winds of 185 mph for 37 hours and was the second-longest Category 5 storm of all Atlantic hurricanes, with Ivan as the first.

#4. Hurricane Sandy (2012)

- Cost: $74.1 billion
- Deaths: 159
- Begin date: Oct. 30, 2012
- End date: Oct. 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage across multiple northeastern states, especially New York and New Jersey. The storm was so disruptive that it caused the New York Stock Exchange to close for two consecutive business days, which hadn't happened since the Great Blizzard of 1888. In New York City, the storm was responsible for the death of 44 residents and damaged over 69,000 residential units, displacing thousands of New Yorkers.

#3. Hurricane Maria (2017)

- Cost: $94.5 billion
- Deaths: 2,981
- Begin date: Sept. 19, 2017
- End date: Sept. 21, 2017

Hurricane Maria was a Category 4 storm that made landfall in southeast Puerto Rico after hitting St. Croix. The storm devastated Puerto Rico's infrastructure, including its transportation, electricity, and agriculture. Rainfall of up to 37 inches also caused landslides and flooding across the island and was responsible for at least 2,981 deaths. Puerto Rico is experiencing a long and still-incomplete recovery, but due in large part to the hurricane, protests and political change have taken place over the last three years.

#2. Hurricane Harvey (2017)

- Cost: $131.3 billion
- Deaths: 89
- Begin date: Aug. 25, 2017
- End date: Aug. 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas. It produced historic flooding around Houston and the surrounding areas, with over 50 inches of rainfall in some places. The massive flooding this rainfall caused displaced over 30,000 people and damaged or destroyed over 200,000 homes and businesses. The flooding was especially bad due to poor urban planning and sprawl that made the Houston area vulnerable.

#1. Hurricane Katrina (2005)

- Cost: $170.0 billion
- Deaths: 1,833
- Begin date: Aug. 25, 2005
- End date: Aug. 30, 2005

Unsurprisingly, 2005's Hurricane Katrina is the costliest hurricane in the history of the United States, with a $170 billion bill. The Category 3 hurricane also caused at least 1,833 deaths. New Orleans was especially devastated when its levee system failed, and residents were left to wait for rescue that never came. New Orleans still has not fully recovered.

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