Special Report

Every Billion Dollar Weather Disaster in the US After 2020

Source: Mathieu Lewis-Rolland / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Western Drought and Heat Wave
> Duration: Jan 1, 2021 to Dec 31, 2021
> Estimated cost: $8.9 billion — #4 highest since 2020
> Estimated deaths: 229

Drought conditions persisted throughout much of 2021 across several Western states, especially in Oregon and Washington. A summertime heat dome hovered for days over the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, breaking numerous temperature records. The extreme heat and dry conditions withered crops and forced the closure of the hydroelectric power plant in Lake Oroville, California, for the first time since it opened in 1967.

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California Flooding and Severe Weather
> Duration: Jan 24, 2021 to Jan 29, 2021
> Estimated cost: $1.2 billion — #23 highest since 2020
> Estimated deaths: 2

While much of the western United States suffered from record high temperatures and drought for much of 2021, heavy downpours inundated southern and central California for five days in January. Floods and mudslides damaged residential and commercial properties, vehicles, and infrastructure, while high winds caused power outages. Snow shut down roads at higher altitudes in the Sierra Nevada range.

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Northwest, Central, Eastern Winter Storm and Cold Wave
> Duration: Feb 10, 2021 to Feb 19, 2021
> Estimated cost: $24.0 billion — #2 highest since 2020
> Estimated deaths: 226

Historic low temperatures and a winter storm struck states across the northwest, central, and eastern parts of the country. Temperatures fell to as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit below normal in the parts of the Great Plains plains from Nebraska to Texas. The arctic front caused power outages, notably in Texas, where most of the deaths occurred. The event became the costliest U.S. winter storm on record.

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Southeast Tornadoes and Severe Weather
> Duration: Mar 24, 2021 to Mar 25, 2021
> Estimated cost: $1.8 billion — #8 highest since 2020
> Estimated deaths: 6

At least 41 tornadoes impacted Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. These included 15 that were ranked “Strong” to “Violent” in the Enhanced Fujita-scale of tornado intensity — with wind speeds measuring from 111 to more than 200 miles per hour. The strongest of these twisters struck communities in central Alabama and western Georgia, damaging properties and infrastructure.

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Eastern Severe Weather
> Duration: Mar 27, 2021 to Mar 28, 2021
> Estimated cost: $1.4 billion — #12 highest since 2020
> Estimated deaths: 8

Hail, damaging high winds, and tornadoes accompanied heavy storms in Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. Homes and businesses in and around Nashville were flooded. High winds from the weather system damaged properties and infrastructure in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.

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