This Is the Worst State in America for Natural Disasters

Water floods the street after Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey caused massive amounts of damage. | Thomas B. Shea/AFP/Getty Images

The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey might have you wondering whether a natural disaster of that magnitude could happen in your state. As you watch television news reports and recall major storms you might have heard about or even witnessed, your fears might be heightened. And there’s good reason to be concerned. Storm damage cleanup efforts in Louisiana and Texas are expected to cost as much as $108 billion, possibly making it the most or second-most expensive storm in United States history since 1980.

According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, from 1980 to July 7, 2017, there have been 24 drought events, 28 flooding events, eight freeze events, 89 severe storm events, 35 tropical cyclone events, 14 wildfire events, and 14 winter storm events with losses of more than $1 billion (adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index) each in the United States.

These are the 15 worst states for natural disasters, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

15. Arkansas

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 57
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $42.4 billion

One of the most expensive billion-dollar natural disasters was a drought and heat wave that hit Arkansas and large portions of the United States in 1988. The agricultural industry and related businesses were negatively impacted by the severe heat. There were roughly 454 deaths resulting from the drought and heat wave conditions in Arkansas. Total damage was estimated to be around $42.4 billion.

Next: Pennsylvania

14. Pennsylvania

Welcome to Pennsylvania road sign

Hurricane Sandy caused the most damage in the state. | iStock.com/benkrut

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 57
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $70.2 billion

Hurricane Sandy proved to be the most expensive storm impacting Pennsylvania. Storm damage affected several other states in the Northeast, including New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. High winds and coastal storm surge caused most of the damage. When Hurricane Sandy combined with a Nor’easter, additional damage was caused by wind, rain, and heavy snow. Total damage was more than $70 billion and resulted in roughly 159 deaths.

Next: South Carolina

13. South Carolina

Flood south carolina

The state also experienced severe flooding in 2015. | Sean Rayford/Getty Images

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 57
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $31.6 billion

A dangerous heatwave in June 1980 was the most expensive natural disaster impacting South Carolina. The drought also affected many parts of the central and eastern United States. The heat caused extensive crop damage and negatively affected related businesses. The heat wave and drought resulted in roughly 10,000 direct and indirect deaths. Total damage was $31.6 billion.

Next: Kentucky

12. Kentucky

industrial buildings

Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive disaster for Kentucky. | Luke Sharrett/Getty Images

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 58
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $160 billion

Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 was the most expensive natural disaster impacting Kentucky. The storm reached a Category 3 level and spread along the eastern Louisiana and western Mississippi coastlines. Damage to inland areas included high winds and flooding in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Georgia. Hurricane Katrina resulted in roughly 1,833 deaths. Total damage was $160 billion.

Next: Kansas

 11. Kansas

A warm, beautiful sunset along the Arkansas River in Wichita, Kansas

Kansas dealt with the fallout from a drought in 1988. | iStock.com/ricardoreitmeyer

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 60
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $42.4 billion

A heatwave and drought in June 1988 was the most expensive natural disaster impacting Kansas. The drought also affected many large parts of the United States. The heat destroyed crops and crippled some businesses in the agricultural industry. The heat wave and drought resulted in roughly 454 deaths. The combination of direct and indirect deaths resulting from the heat were about 5,000. Total damage was $42.4 billion.

Next: Virginia

10. Virginia

Richmond, Virginia, USA

This was another state severely affected by Hurricane Sandy. | iStock.com/SeanPavonePhoto

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 60
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $70.2 billion

Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 was the most expensive natural disaster impacting Virginia. Storm damage affected several other states, including North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire. The wind and flooding caused significant interruption to much-needed water and electrical services. The storm resulted in roughly 159 deaths. Total damage was $70.2 billion.

Next: Missouri

9. Missouri

St. Louis

Like Kansas, Missouri suffered from the drought of 1988. | Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 64
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $42.4 billion

The drought and heat wave of June 1988 was the most expensive natural disaster for Missouri, with an estimated $42.4 billion in damage. The most recent natural disaster experienced by Missouri was a severe hail storm in June 2017. Fortunately, there were no deaths. Total storm damage came out to be around $2.5 billion. The hail and high winds also affected the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Kansas, among others.

Next: Mississippi

8. Mississippi

Welcome to Mississippi

A recent storm caused 20 deaths. | iStock.com/Meinzahn

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 65
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $160 billion

Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive natural disaster for Mississippi, with an estimated $160 billion in damage. The most recent natural disaster experienced by Mississippi was a severe flood. Multiple homes, businesses, infrastructure and agriculture were affected. The storm resulted in about 20 deaths and caused roughly $1.7 billion in damage.

Next: Tennessee

7. Tennessee

downtown Nashville, Tennessee

The state had severe damage from Katrina. | iStock.com/Sean Pavone

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 65
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $160 billion

Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive natural disaster for Tennessee, with an estimated $160 billion in damage. The most recent natural disaster experienced by Tennessee was a severe flood. Multiple homes, businesses, infrastructure and agriculture were affected. The storm resulted in about 20 deaths and caused roughly $1.7 billion in damage.

Next: North Carolina

6. North Carolina

snowy street

The most recent disaster was freezing temperatures. | Lance King/Getty Images

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 66
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $70.2 billion

Hurricane Sandy was the most expensive natural disaster impacting North Carolina, with an estimated $70.2 billion in damage. The most recent natural disaster experienced by North Carolina was severe freezing conditions in March 2017. The most significant damage was in Georgia and South Carolina. There were no deaths. Total damage from this natural disaster came out to be roughly $1 billion.

Next: Alabama

5. Alabama

Welcome to Alabama road sign on US-84 near Gordon

Katrina caused damage in Alabama. | iStock.com/miroslav_1

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 67
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $160 billion

Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive natural disaster for Alabama, with an estimated $160 billion in damage. The most recent natural disaster was severe flooding. Multiple homes, businesses, infrastructure and agriculture were affected. The storm resulted in about 20 deaths and caused roughly $1.7 billion in damage.

Next: Georgia

4. Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

Katrina also affected Georgia. | iStock.com

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 67
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $160 billion

Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive natural disaster for Georgia, with an estimated $160 billion in damage. The most recent natural disaster experienced by Georgia was severe freezing conditions in March 2017. The most significant damage was in Georgia and South Carolina. There was extensive damage to crops as a result of the deep freeze. The crops most affected included peaches, blueberries, and strawberries. There were no deaths. Total damage from this natural disaster came out to be roughly $1 billion.

Next: Illinois

3. Illinois

Snowplow on Chicago streets in blizzard

Illinois had a severe hail storm in 2017. | pixabay

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 69
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $42.4 billion

The drought and heat wave of June 1988 was the most expensive natural disaster for Illinois, with an estimated $42.4 billion in damage. The most recent natural disaster experienced by Illinois was a severe hail storm in June 2017. Although the hail was destructive, the storm did not result in any fatalities. Total storm damage came out to be roughly $2.5 billion.

Next: Oklahoma

2. Oklahoma

oklahoma city

A drought was the most severe disaster. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 70
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $42.4 billion

The drought and heat wave of June 1988 was the most expensive natural disaster for Oklahoma, with an estimated $42.4 billion in damage. The most recent natural disaster was a severe hail storm in May 2017. Storm and wind damage affected several states, including Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico. The storm did not result in any fatalities. Total storm damage came out to be roughly $2.2 billion.

Next: Texas

1. Texas

Harvey flooding

Harvey is by far the most destructive disaster in Texas. | Staff Sgt. Jordan Castelan/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images

  • Total billion-dollar natural disasters: 94
  • Cost of most expensive disaster: $108 billion (estimate)

Coming in at first place is Texas, with 94 billion-dollar storms since 1980. Hurricane Harvey is estimated to be the most expensive natural disaster that has impacted Texas. It is also estimated to be the most expensive or second-most expensive natural disaster in United States history. As of September 2017, estimates are around $108 billion.

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