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BILLION-DOLLAR WEATHER

A chart of the most costly U.S. weather disasters shows billion-plus-dollar events have been increasing in recent

years. The main reason: More people are living on higher value properties in vulnerable places, such as coasts.

But as the atmosphere warms, scientists expect destructive weather itself to become more common.

TYPE OF DISASTER

COST OF

DISASTER

$50 billion

Drought/heat wave

Hurricane

$20

Wildfire

Tornado/hailstorm/thunderstorm

$1

Flood

Blizzard/ice storm/freeze

Hurricane Harvey is expected to

become the second most costly

disaster in U.S. history.

$64-$92 billion estimated

Hurricane Irma

$86-$108 billion estimated

Hurricane Harvey

2017

JULY

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUNE

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

2016 had the most $1 billion-plus disasters so far (15).

$10 billion

Hurricane Matthew

2015

$70 billion

Hurricane Sandy

2010

$35 billion

Hurricane Ike

$160 billion

Hurricane

Katrina

 

$24 billion

Hurricane Rita

Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural

disaster in U.S. history, damaging nine states.

$23 billion

Hurricane Wilma

2005

$21 billion

Hurricane Charley

$27 billion

Hurricane Ivan

2000

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

1995

$36 billion

Midwest flooding

$48 billion

Hurricane Andrew

1990

1993’s “storm of the century”

hit the eastern seaboard with

heavy snows, costing $8.5 billion,

more than any other blizzard.

$18 billion

Hurricane Hugo

$42 billion

Drought/heat wave

Droughts combined with heat waves

in 1980 and 1988 in the central and

eastern U.S. devastated agriculture

and related industries.

1985

$32 billion

Drought/heat wave

1980

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

*Estimated by Moody’s Analytics. Estimates from NOAA are not yet available. All figures are in 2017 dollars.

 

An earlier version of this graphic was published in the September 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.

John Tomanio AND RILEY D. CHAMPINE, NG Staff

Sources: Adam Smith, National Climatic Data Center;

Jeff Masters, Weather Underground; National Climatic Data Center

BILLION-DOLLAR

HURRICANES

A chart of the most costly U.S. hurricanes

shows billion-plus-dollar storms have been

increasing in recent years. The main reason:

More people are living on higher-value proper-

ties in vulnerable places, such as coasts. As

the oceans warm, scientists expect destruc-

tive storms to become more common.

 

To compare hurricanes with other types of

billion-dollar weather events, view the graphic

on a larger screen.

COST OF Hurricanes

causing at least one billion

dollars in damage in U.S.

$50 billion

$20

$1

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

Hurricane Harvey is expected to become the second

most costly disaster in U.S. history.

$86-$108 billion*

Hurricane Harvey

 

$64-$92 billion*

Hurricane Irma

 

2017

$10 billion

Hurricane Matthew

 

2015

$70 billion

Hurricane Sandy

$15 billion

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural

disaster in U.S. history, damaging nine states.

2010

$35 billion

Hurricane Ike

$160 billion

Hurricane

Katrina

 

$24 billion

Hurricane Rita

$23 billion

Hurricane Wilma

2005

$27 billion

Hurricane Ivan

$21 billion

Hurricane Charley

$7.4 billion

Hurricane Isabel

2000

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

$9.7 billion

Hurricane Floyd

$9.1 billion

Hurricane Georges

$8.0 billion

Hurricane Fran

$7.6 billion

Hurricane Opal

1995

$48 billion

Hurricane Andrew

$2.7 billion

Hurricane Bob

1990

$18 billion

Hurricane Hugo

$3.5 billion

Hurricane Juan

1985

$7.5 billion

Hurricane Alicia

$1.9 billion

Hurricane Allen

1980

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

Estimated by Moody’s Analytics. Estimates from NOAA

are not yet available. All figures are in 2017 dollars.

*

An earlier version of this graphic was published in the

September 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.

John Tomanio AND RILEY D. CHAMPINE, NG Staff. Sources: Adam Smith, NatioNal Climatic Data Center;

Jeff Masters, Weather Underground; National Climatic Data Center