Stormy Weather

Introduction

How much have disasters cost in recent years to the United States in terms of money and deaths?

Since 1990, natural disasters have cost the United States about $540 billion and nearly 5,000 lives. This period of history unfortunately includes the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster, which is responsible for 1,833 deaths and almost $134 billion in damages just by itself. More typically, annual damages inflicted on American soil average about $18 billion annually. This includes damages caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, blizzards and ice storms, heat waves, wildfires, and other severe conditions. The table below breaks this down by year.

Costs of U.S. Weather Disasters, 1990–2008

Year Cost in Billions* Deaths
1990       $7.1       13
1991       $6.2       43
1992       $45       87
1993       $40.9       338
1994       $8.4       81
1995       $18.6       99
1996       $18.7       233
1997       $10       114
1998       $27.7       399
1999       $12.2       651
2000       $7.2       140
2001       $7.8       46
2002       $15.6       28
2003       $14       131
2004       $49.5       168
2005       $171.2       2,002**
2006       $11.8       95
2007       $10.9       22
2008       $56.7       274
* Costs are in 2008 U.S. dollars, adjusted for inflation.
** Includes Hurricane Katrina.


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