Special Report

Worst Natural Disasters in the US in the Last 10 Years

Source: David McNew / Getty Images

35. Western and Alaskan Wildfires
> Deaths: 12
> Est. cost: $3.3 billion
> Disaster classification: Wildfire
> Date: Summer-Fall 2015

From June through November 2015, wildfires burned over 10.1 million acres in the Western United States — the most to that date since record keeping began in 1960. The most extensive fires took place in Alaska, where over 5 million acres burned. But the most damage was in California, where over 2,500 structures were destroyed. By the time the fires stopped, 12 people had lost their lives and the damage was estimated at $3.3 billion.

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

34. Louisiana Flooding
> Deaths: 13
> Est. cost: $10.8 billion
> Disaster classification: Flooding
> Date: August 2016

From August 12 through 15, 2016, a storm dropped over 30 inches of rain in parts of Louisiana. The odds of such heavy precipitation make it a 1 in 500 year event. Watson, Louisiana, was the hardest hit, and the flooding resulted in 13 deaths and over 30,000 rescues. Over 50,000 homes, 100,000 vehicles, and 20,000 businesses were damaged or destroyed, resulting in nearly $11 billion in damage.

Source: Scott Cunningham / Getty Images

33. Midwest/Southeast/Northeast Winter storm
> Deaths: 16
> Est. cost: $2.4 billion
> Disaster classification: Winter storm
> Date: January 2014

A winter storm system that swept across 17 states from Jan. 5 through 8, 2014, resulted in 16 deaths and $2.4 billion in damage. The storm affected states in the Northeast and Midwest that are no strangers to winter weather — but also states in the Southeast like Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina that are less equipped for such winter weather events.

Source: Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images

32. Missouri and Arkansas Flooding and Central Severe Weather
> Deaths: 20
> Est. cost: $1.7 billion
> Disaster classification: Flooding
> Date: May 2017

A period of heavy rain that stretched from April 25 to May 7, 2017, dropped up to 15 inches and inundated levees in parts of the Midwest. The most severe flooding occurred in Missouri, Arkansas, and southern Illinois.

Source: Brian Blanco / Getty Images

31. Western/Southeast Wildfires
> Deaths: 21
> Est. cost: $2.6 billion
> Disaster classification: Wildfire
> Date: Summer-Fall 2016

The second half of 2016 was a particularly active season for wildfires in the western and southeastern parts of the United States. Drought conditions in California and parts of the Southeast provided conditions for the fires to spread. The fires were particularly bad in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where hurricane-force winds and dry conditions made the firestorm particularly volatile. Of the 21 fatalities nationwide from the fires, 14 were in Gatlinburg.

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