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U.S. Had Eleven 'Billion Dollar' Weather Events in 2012

January 2, 2013

By Bill Novak


Severe weather and the worst drought in decades resulted in 11 events in the United States that cost at least $1 billion in damage in 2012.

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) released preliminary information on the extreme weather experienced in the U.S. in 2012, saying losses in the big 11 events could top $60 billion, a figure that could go higher.

"Economic losses for two events, Hurricane Sandy and the year-long drought, are the big drivers this year in terms of costs and they are stilll being calculated," the NCDC said. "It will take months to develop a final, reliable estimate for each."

Sandy and the drought were the biggest calamitous events in 2012, but the NCDC listed nine others also reaching $1 billion in losses:

  • Southeast/Ohio Valley tornadoes, March 2-3
  • Texas tornadoes, April 2-3
  • Great Plains tornadoes, April 13-14
  • Midwest/Ohio Valley severe weather, April 28-May 1
  • Southern Plains-Midwest-Northeast severe weather, May 25-30
  • Rockies/Southwest severe weather, June 6-12
  • Plains/East/Northeast severe weather, June 29-July 2
  • Hurricane Isaac, August 26-31
  • Western wildfires, summer-fall

The 11 events combined to cause 349 deaths, the most (131) happening during Sandy, while the summer-long heat wave caused 123 direct deaths.

The NCDC said the worst year in terms of cost from storms was 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma and Dennis caused a combined $187 billion in damage to the Gulf Coast and Florida.


(c)2013 The Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, Wis.

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Story image: This aerial photo shows the Breezy Point neighborhood, in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, where more than 50 homes were burned to the ground Monday night as a result of superstorm Sandy. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

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