The Top 10 Most Costly Natural Disasters of 2011

According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the United States has experienced a record number of billion-dollar natural disasters –and of those, at least 10 are approaching a total of $50 billion dollars in costs.joplin_fema_funds_015f7

Considered the “nation’s scorekeeper,” the NCDC tracks and evaluates climate events in the US and globally that have substantial economic and societal impacts. They report in the last 31 years, the U.S. has experienced 110 weather/climate-related disasters where overall damages and costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. And are you sitting? The total standardized loses exceed $750 billion.

Oftentimes when we consider of significant weather-related disasters, we automatically think earthquakes and hurricanes on the fringes of our country. But as you’ll see below, the Midwest took a significant beating this year from tornadoes.

Here are the top 10 most costly disasters of 2011 — so far, in order of costs/damages:

1. Southeast/Ohio Valley/Midwest Tornadoes, April 25 – 30. Over $7.3 billion insured losses, total loses greater than $10.2 billion, 321 deaths.

2. Southern Plains/Southwest Drought, Heat Wave and Wildfires, Spring-Summer. More than $10 billion and counting, at least 4 deaths.

3. Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes, May 22 – 27. More than $6.5 billion insured losses, total loses greater than $9.1 billion, and 177 deaths.

4. Hurricane Irene, August 20 – 29. More than $7.3 billion in damages, at least 45 deaths.

5. Mississippi River Flooding, Spring-Summer. More than $3 – 4 billion, as many as 7 deaths.

6. Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes, April 4 – 5. Over $2.0 billion insured losses, total losses greater than $2.8 billion, 9 deaths.

7. Southeast/Midwest Tornadoes, April 8 – 11. More than $1.5 billion insured losses, total losses greater than $2.2 billion, thankfully zero deaths reported.

8. Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes, April 14-16. Over $1.4 billion in insured loses, total losses greater than $2.1 billion, 38 deaths.

9. Upper Midwest Flooding, Summer. More than $1 billion, at least 5 deaths.

10. Groundhog Day Blizzard, January 29 – February 3. More than $1.0 billion in insured losses, total losses greater than $1.8 billion, 36 deaths.

For more detail on each of these horrible tragedies, visit the National Climatic Data Center.


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