Special Report

Worst Natural Disasters in the US in the Last 10 Years

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

20. Midwest/Southeast/Northeast Tornadoes and Flooding
> Deaths: 33
> Est. cost: $1.9 billion
> Disaster classification: Severe storm
> Date: April 2014

Severe storms brought a record number of tornadoes and historic rainfall across much of the Southeast in late April 2014. Mississippi reported its third highest volume of tornadoes in a single day since 1950. Pensacola, Florida, reported a record two-day rainfall of over 20 inches. Officials claimed the precipitation led to the worst flooding in three decades. Another 13 states in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic, and Northeast were also affected by the storms.

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

19. Groundhog Day Blizzard
> Deaths: 36
> Est. cost: $2.1 billion
> Disaster classification: Winter storm
> Date: February 2011

Much of the United States, from Texas to New England, was hit by a massive blizzard on Groundhog Day in 2011. The storm — nicknamed “Snowpocalypse” — brought Chicago to a virtual standstill, burying the city in as much as 2 feet of snow. The blizzard ranks as the third largest in Chicago’s history. Other parts of northern Illinois and northwest Indiana were also particularly hard hit.

Source: Sara D. Davis / Getty Images

18. Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes
> Deaths: 38
> Est. cost: $2.4 billion
> Disaster classification: Severe storm
> Date: April 2011

Over the course of three days in mid-April 2011, an estimated outbreak of 177 tornadoes hit 10 states in the Midwest and Southeast. The month was one of the most active and destructive months on record for tornadoes in U.S. history. Fatalities from the storms were reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Virginia, but the majority of the 38 total deaths were reported in North Carolina.

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

17. Southeast/Ohio Valley Tornadoes
> Deaths: 42
> Est. cost: $3.5 billion
> Disaster classification: Severe storm
> Date: March 2012

On March 2 and 3 in 2012, a series of 75 tornadoes tore across six states in the South and the Midwest, claiming 42 lives and causing $3.5 billion in damage. In the path of an EF-4 tornado (which brings winds of 166 to 200 mph), Clark County, Indiana, was particularly hard hit. In Henryville, 175 mph winds were reported, and debris from the community’s destruction was found as far as 70 miles away in Kentucky and Ohio.

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

16. Hurricane Irene
> Deaths: 45
> Est. cost: $15.7 billion
> Disaster classification: Tropical cyclone
> Date: August 2011

Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm in late August 2011. Much of the damage wrought by the storm was attributable to flash flooding resulting from heavy rains, though strong winds also knocked down trees and powerlines, resulting in more than 7 million homes and businesses losing power along the eastern seaboard.

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