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U.S. NATURAL DISASTERS | Texas Reigns Supreme

Heat Maps: Here's where the costliest U.S. disasters happen


Friday, June 16, 2017, 3:11 - From ravaging wildfires to deadly floods, the United States sees its fair share of weather disasters each year. Now, thanks to heat maps released by U.S. climate officials, we can see where these events have the costliest impacts.

Using data from a recent study, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration created a series of heat maps (seen below) that examine billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the U.S.

The study found that since 1980, the U.S. has sustained 203 weather and climate disasters where the overall damage costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index, as of January 2017).

Bearing the brunt of these disasters was Texas. The Lone Star State reported a total of 90 billion-dollar weather events in the past 37 years, which also amounted to roughly 44 percent of all costly weather disasters in the U.S. 

Image below: From 1980–2017 (as of April 6, 2017), there have been 208 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion (CPI-Adjusted) each across the United States. These events included 24 drought events, 27 flooding events, 8 freeze events, 86 severe storm events, 35 tropical cyclone events, 14 wildfire events, and 14 winter storm events (C/O NOAA).

The study also revealed 2016 had the second highest annual number of U.S. billion-dollar disasters, behind the 16 events that occurred in 2011.

"The year 2016 was an unusual year, as there were 15 weather and climate events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States," wrote study author Adam Smith. "Cumulatively, these 15 events led to 138 fatalities and caused $46.0 billion in total, direct costs." 

The majority of events happened in central parts of the country, from the central Plains to Texas and Louisiana, while four of last year’s billion-dollar weather disasters occurred in Texas.

Below: Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Heat Maps Courtesy of NOAA

Below: From 1980–2017 (as of April 6, 2017), there have been 35 tropical cyclone events with losses exceeding $1 billion (CPI-Adjusted) each across the United States.

Below: From 1980–2017 (as of April 6, 2017), there have been 86 severe storm events with losses exceeding $1 billion (CPI-Adjusted) each across the United States.

Below: From 1980–2017 (as of April 6, 2017), there have been 8 freeze events with losses exceeding $1 billion (CPI-Adjusted) each across the United States.

Below: From 1980–2017 (as of April 6, 2017), there have been 27 flooding events with losses exceeding $1 billion (CPI-Adjusted) each across the United States.

Below: From 1980–2017 (as of April 6, 2017), there have been 24 drought events with losses exceeding $1 billion (CPI-Adjusted) each across the United States.

Below: From 1980–2017 (as of April 6, 2017), there have been 14 winter storm events with losses exceeding $1 billion (CPI-Adjusted) each across the United States.

Below: From 1980–2017 (as of April 6, 2017), there have been 14 wildfire events with losses exceeding $1 billion (CPI-Adjusted) each across the United States.

Source: NOAA

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