No matter what humans build, Mother Nature has the power to destroy it. Damage to buildings, infrastructure and agricultural crops is devastating when natural forces create massive storms that rip and tear through state communities and farmlands. Winds from tornadoes and hurricanes are the most destructive. They bring on pelting hail and drowning floods. Lightning often leads these storms, smashing out power grids and setting off fires.
All across America, millions of people are susceptible to natural disasters caused by violent storms. Flooding is particularly nasty as it leaves contaminants that are almost impossible to clean. Floods contribute to some of the highest insurance claims. And flood damage occurs mainly in the low-lying coastal area where many Americans reside.
But not all states receiving the most storm damage are lowlands. Tornado Alley in the central plains is notorious for destruction. So are the Northern Atlantic regions that suffer severe winter ice storms and blizzards. California experiences flash flooding and out-of-control firestorms. But the south is still getting it the worst.
Top 9 States for Storm Damage
The National Weather Service and the National Centers for Environmental Information record storm damage statistics. A recent article by Wall Street 24/7 highlighted storm damage statistics from 2010 to 2014. They rated each state by the number of categorized storms and the amount of insurable property damage. They also recorded storm-caused fatalities. Here are nine states that topped the list in storm damages each year:
9. Wyoming reported total storm damages at $104 million. They also had 23 weather-related fatalities. Wyoming experiences sudden spring thaws that trigger heavy floods.
8. Montana has similar weather to Wyoming. Their damages were $142 million with 19 deaths due to storms. Fortunately, Montana’s damage rate has been dropping.
7. Nevada experienced $417 million in damages and 99 fatalities. The state’s searing heat creates uncontrollable firestorms. Lightning is the primary culprit.
6. Arkansas gets it all. Tornadoes, remnants of tropical storms and flash floods led to $1.2 billion in damage and 117 lost lives. Half of the deaths were drownings in flooded homes.
5. Mississippi is a low lying state that carries a large amount of America’s drainage. They lost $3 billion and 93 lives. Flooding and high winds are Mississippi’s big natural enemy.
4. Oklahoma is tornado central. They reported $3.5 billion in storm damages and 96 deaths. One category 5 tornado alone caused nearly a billion in property damage and took 49 lives.
3. Tennessee had eight FEMA states of emergency resulting in $4.7 billion wiped out and 121 people killed. That’s due to severe wind storms and flooding.
2. Missouri declared $5.3 billion in property damage and 253 fatalities. Nearly two-thirds of this damage and loss was from one single storm. A category 5 twister touched down in Joplin’s city center taking 160 lives and leaving a $2.8 billion cleaning bill.
1. Alabama leads the nation as the state with the most storm damage. Their claim is $12.2 billion in repairs and 519 lifeless names. Tornados are Alabama’s leading storm threat.
These figures on loss of lives and property damages due to storms are heartbreaking. Each year, these nine states face the weather and somehow get by. Possibly they put things in perspective. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed $105.8 billion in property damages and left an incalculable human loss.
24/7 Wall St. (2015) 9 States With the Most Dangerous Weather. Retrieved from: http://247wallst.com/special-report/2015/07/27/9-states-with-the-most-dangerous-weather/
National Centers for Environmental Information. Retrieved from: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/
NPR Planet Money. (2012) America’s Most Expensive Storms. Retrieved from: http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2012/10/31/163960418/americas-most-expensive-storms