NewsCovering Colorado


Frequency of billion-dollar disasters in the US double in recent decade

Posted at 3:39 PM, Jan 08, 2020

"Even after adjusting for inflation, the U.S. experienced more than twice the number of billion-dollar disasters during the 2010s when compared to the 2000s." That's according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in a new report.

Billion-dollar disasters refer to "weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion." These have been monitored and assessed by NOAA since 1980.

This decade in Colorado

In the 2000's, Colorado was affected by 13 disasters that resulted in more than a billion dollars in damages. In the 2010's, Colorado was affected by 27 events.

Billion-dollar disaster events that affected Colorado from 2000-2019

There were several notable events of high economic loss during the past decade in Colorado.

The costliest wildfire in Colorado history, the Waldo Canyon Fire, occurred in 2012.

In the summer of 2017, Denver saw the costliest hail storm in state history, dealing $2.3 billion in damage.

Also, flooding in September 2013 in northern Colorado cost $1.7 billion.

Periods of drought have had notable and large impacts to agriculture in the country. It is difficult to pinpoint the specific cost to Colorado during these type of disasters, as they usually span many states.

2019 Disasters

According to NOAA's report, in 2019 the US experienced 14 billion-dollar disaster events, totaling $45 billion in damages. 8 of which were severe weather related, 3 due to flooding, 2 due to tropical storms or hurricanes, and 1 due to wildfires.

Courtery NOAA

The most costly event, totaling $10.8 billion, was flooding in the Missouri River and north-central U.S. in March, due to heavy rain and snow melt from a "bomb cyclone".

Continued heavy rain and high river levels through July along the Mississippi River cost $6.2 billion, ranking number 2 for the year.

The 3rd costliest event was Tropical Storm Imelda, causing $5 billion in damage to the southeast Texas coast.

To view this data yourself and to learn more about this research, click here.