A Decade of Billion-Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters

From the September-October 2002 Trumpet Print Edition


June: Tropical Storm Allison

Produces rainfall of 30-40 inches in portions of coastal Texas and Louisiana, causing severe flooding; approximately $5 billion damage/costs; at least 43 deaths.

April: Midwest and Ohio Valley Hail and Tornadoes

Storms, tornadoes and hail over a six-day period; at least $1.7 billion damage/costs; at least three deaths.


Spring-Summer: Drought/Heat Wave

Severe drought and persistent heat over south-central and southeastern states causes significant losses to agriculture and related industries; estimate of over $4 billion damage/costs; estimated 140 deaths nationwide.

Spring-Summer: Western Fires

Severe fire season in western states due to drought and frequent winds, with nearly 7 million acres burned; estimate of over $2 billion damage/costs.


September: Hurricane Floyd

Large category 2 hurricane causes landslide and severe flooding in eastern North Carolina; estimate of at least $6 billion damage/costs; 77 deaths.

Summer: Eastern Drought/Heat Wave

Very dry summer and high temperatures, mainly in eastern U.S., with extensive agricultural losses; over $1 billion damage/costs; estimated 502 deaths.

May: Oklahoma-Kansas Tornadoes

Outbreak of F4-F5 tornadoes; at least $1.1 billion damage/costs; 55 deaths.

January: Arkansas-Tennessee Tornadoes

Two outbreaks of tornadoes in six-day period; approximately $1.3 billion damage/costs; 17 deaths.


October-November: Texas Flooding

Severe flooding in southeast Texas; approximately $1 billion damage/costs; 31 deaths.

September: Hurricane Georges

Category 2 hurricane strikes Puerto Rico, Florida Keys and Gulf coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida panhandle; estimated $5.9 billion damage/costs; 16 deaths.

August: Hurricane Bonnie

Category 3 hurricane strikes eastern North Carolina and Virginia, extensive agricultural damage due to winds and flooding; approximately $1 billion damage/costs; three deaths.

Summer: Southern Drought/Heat Wave

Severe drought and heat wave from Texas/Oklahoma eastward to the Carolinas; $6-9 billion damage/costs to agriculture and ranching; at least 200 deaths.

May: Minnesota Severe Storms/Hail

Very damaging thunderstorms with large hail over wide areas of Minnesota; over $1.5 billion damage/costs; 1 death.

Winter-Spring: Southeast Severe Weather

Tornadoes and flooding related to El Niño in southeastern states; over $1 billion damage/costs; at least 132 deaths.

January: Northeast Ice Storm

Intense ice storm hits Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York; over $1.4 billion damage/costs; 16 deaths.


April-May: Northern Plains Flooding

Severe flooding in Dakotas and Minnesota due to heavy spring snowmelt; approximately $3.7 billion damage/costs; 11 deaths.

March: Mississippi and Ohio Valleys Flooding and Tornadoes

Tornadoes and severe flooding; estimated $1 billion damage/costs; 67 deaths.

December 1996-January 1997: West Coast Flooding

Torrential rains and snowmelt produce severe flooding; approximately $3 billion damage/costs; 36 deaths.


September: Hurricane Fran

Category 3 hurricane strikes North Carolina and Virginia, extensive agricultural and other losses; over $5 billion damage/costs; 37 deaths.

Fall 1995-Summer 1996: Southern Plains Severe Drought

Severe drought in agricultural regions of southern plains—Texas and Oklahoma most severely affected; approximately $5 billion damage/costs.

February: Pacific Northwest Severe Flooding

Very heavy, persistent rains and melting snow over Oregon, Washington, Idaho and western Montana; approximately $1 billion damage/costs; nine deaths.

January: Blizzard of ‘96

Very heavy snowstorm over Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, followed by severe flooding; approximately $3 billion damage/costs; 187 deaths.


October: Hurricane Opal

Category 3 hurricane strikes Florida panhandle, Alabama, western Georgia, eastern Tennessee and the western Carolinas; $3 billion damage/costs; 27 deaths.

September: Hurricane Marilyn

Category 2 hurricane devastates U.S. Virgin Islands; estimated $2.1 billion damage/costs; 13 deaths.

May: Texas-Oklahoma-Louisiana-Mississippi Severe Weather and Flooding

Torrential rains, hail and tornadoes; $5-6 billion damage/costs; 32 deaths.

January-March: California Flooding

Frequent winter storms cause 20-70 inches rainfall and periodic flooding; over $3 billion damage/costs; 27 deaths.


Summer-Fall: Western Fire Season

Severe fire season in western states due to dry weather; $1 billion damage/costs.

October: Texas Flooding

Torrential rain and thunderstorms cause flooding across much of southeast Texas; approximately $1 billion damage/costs; 19 deaths.

July: Tropical Storm Alberto

Torrential rains, widespread flooding and agricultural damage in parts of Georgia, Alabama and panhandle of Florida; approximately $1 billion damage/costs; 32 deaths.

February: Southeast Ice Storm

Intense ice storm with extensive damage; approximately $3 billion damage/costs; nine deaths.


Fall: California Wildfires

Dry weather, high winds and wildfires in Southern California; approximately $1 billion damage/costs; four deaths.

Summer: Midwest Flooding

Severe, widespread flooding in central U.S. due to persistent heavy rains and thunderstorms; approximately $21 billion damage/costs; 48 deaths.

Summer: Drought/Heat Wave

Southeastern U.S.; approximately $1 billion damage/costs to agriculture; at least 16 deaths.

March: Storm/Blizzard

“Storm of the Century” hits entire eastern seaboard with tornadoes, high winds and heavy snows; $3-6 billion damage/costs; approximately 270 deaths.


December: Nor’easter of 1992

Slow-moving storm batters northeast U.S. coast; $1-2 billion damage/costs; 19 deaths.

September: Hurricane Iniki

Category 4 hurricane hits Hawaiian island of Kauai; approximately $1.8 billion damage/costs; seven deaths.

August: Hurricane Andrew

Category 4 hurricane hits Florida and Louisiana, high winds damage or destroy over 125,000 homes; approximately $27 billion damage/costs; 61 deaths.


October: Oakland Firestorm

Oakland, Calif., firestorm due to low humidities and high winds; approximately $2.5 billion damage/costs; 25 deaths.

August: Hurricane Bob

Category 2 hurricane—mainly coastal North Carolina, Long Island and New England; $1.5 billion damage/costs; 18 deaths.

(Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)