Nature is amazing and yet powerful. Just when we think we’re safe we realize that anything can happen when it comes to natural events. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and many more natural events can
10. Bhola Cyclone
The deadliest Cyclone in history struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on November 12, 1970. The Bhola Cyclone devastated the low lying islands with brutal winds and storm surge that flooded most of the land mass. It claimed the lives of over 500,000 people. Crops, entire villages and infrastructure were severely damaged. Poor response from government leaders led to a violent civil war which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. The cost of the disaster was estimated to be equivalent to over $1.1 billion in today’s US dollars.
9. Super Typhoon Yolanda
Typhoon Yolanda was one of the most powerful storms in history. This Category 5 typhoon reportedly created winds that blew up to 195 mph as it brutally assaulted the Philippines. The Islands of Leyte took the brunt of the damage. The 20-foot storm surge destroyed the terminal building at Tacloban Airport. While the total number of deaths was thought to be around 6,300, it has been reported that there were much more than that number in Tacloban, Leyte alone. The storm flattened houses, flooded cities, destroyed infrastructure and sparked waves of looting and violence throughout affected areas. Many areas are still recovering today from the typhoon that caused an estimated $2 billion US dollars in damage.
8. Cyclone Nargis
The country of Myanmar was hit by a Category 4 cyclone on May 2nd, 2008. As Cyclone Nargis made landfall it produced 105 mph winds that triggered a massive storm surge that powered its way up the Irrawaddy Delta. The surge tore through many densely populated areas and caused an estimated 138,000 deaths, although the number is thought to be much higher. Entire villages were annihilated, crops were destroyed and millions were left homeless. The monetary cost was estimated to exceed $10 billion US dollars making the Cyclone Nargis disaster one of the Top 10 Weather Events That Caused Billions of Dollars in Damage.
7. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s
The “Dust Bowl” drought of the 1930s virtually crippled North America and compounded the effects of the Great Depression. Around 75% of the United States was affected and it was feared that agriculture would no longer be a viable industry. Crops failed, the soil eroded, cattle died and people were forced to abandon their farms. It is impossible to calculate the cost of this disaster but it would easily reach into the tens of billions of dollars.
6. Hurricane Andrew
Hurricane Andrew walloped Florida and the Southern US with winds reaching 165 mph. The Category 5 hurricane reached landfall near Miami and proceeded to level over 25,000 homes in the Miami area while flattening over 100,000 more as it continued on its destructive path through the Southern US. Andrew had caused severe damage to the Bahamas as well as doing damage to off-shore oil rigs. While the death toll was less than 40, the cost of damages caused by Hurricane Andrew was estimated to be around $29 billion US dollars making Hurricane Andrew one of the Top 10 Weather Events That Caused Billions of Dollars in Damage.
5. Hurricane Ike
In September 2008, Hurricane Ike ploughed its way through the Caribbean on its way to landfall in Galveston, Texas. The approaching Category 4 hurricane prompted mandatory evacuation orders throughout Texas and Louisiana. It was reported that nearly 40 percent of Galveston’s residents ignored the orders. Luckily, it is estimated that fewer than 200 people in the Caribbean and the US died as a result of the storm. The affected regions suffered from flooding, power outages, a spike in the cost of gas and suspension of services. Some areas were without electricity for over a month after Hurricane Ike. The estimated cost of Hurricane Ike was nearly $40 billion US dollars.
4. Thailand Floods
The 2011 monsoon season brought heavier than expected rainfall to Thailand. Between July and October, the rain caused serious flooding in the northern and central regions of the country. The flooding was responsible for nearly 900 deaths and affected over 13 million people. Most of the country was declared a disaster zone as more than 20,000 square kilometers of farm land was damaged. Many key industries were also greatly affected as the flooding caused manufacturing plants to shut down. The cost of damages is estimated to have exceeded $45 billion US dollars making the Thailand floods one of Top 10 Weather Events That Caused Billions of Dollars in Damage.
3. North American Drought
Through 1988 and 1989, North America suffered through a drought which produced record high temperatures and record low precipitation. This drought was responsible for crop losses, scores of dead cattle, water shortages, wild fires and up to 10,000 deaths. Huge dust storms that were similar to those of the “Dust Bowl” era of the 1930s caused major problems. Estimates calculated in 2008 put the cost of this drought at nearly $120 billion US dollars while more conservative estimates place it at around $76 billion US dollars.
2. Hurricane Sandy
On October 26th, 2012, several states in the eastern United Stated declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Sandy approached. Hurricane Sandy hit Atlantic City on October 29th and proceeded to work her way up the coast where she dished out a vicious assault on New York City. Storm surges easily overpowered flood defenses causing massive flooding, power outages and suspension of services. The Wall Street Stock Exchange was even forced to close for two days. Countless homes and business were destroyed. The monetary cost of this weather event exceeded $70 billion dollars. Fortunately, the human casualty count was estimated at only 159. Early detection and planning spared many lives. Sandy is the second costliest weather-related disaster in American history.
1. Hurricane Katrina
On August 25th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the US Gulf Coast. The Category 5 hurricane caused mass destruction along the Florida, Alabama and Louisiana coasts while its effects were also felt in many other states. Coastal storm surges breached levees and canals causing entire cities to become heavily flooded and severely damaged. Katrina left approximately 1,900 dead in her wake but it would have been an exponentially higher total had it not been for early detection and mass evacuations. The cost of this disaster is estimated to have been over $100 billion US dollars. Katrina was also responsible for over $41 billion US dollars worth of insurance costs making Hurricane Katrina one of Top 10 Weather Events That Caused Billions of Dollars in Damage.