Natural disasters ended 377 lives in the United States and cost approximately $110 billion in damages in 2012. The National Climatic Data Center reported that 2012 was the second costliest since loss assessments began in 1980. Eleven disasters independently cost more than $1 billion in damages last year, also the second highest record since 1980.
Extremes of water caused the most damage to the United States in 2012. An excess of water, in the form of flooding, and other devastation from Hurricane Sandy washed away $65 million worth of the East Coast. At the other end of the spectrum, drought withered $30 million as it dried out crops, slowed river shipping and spurred wildfires in 2,600 of the U.S.’s 3,143 counties.
The most expensive year recorded by the National Climatic Data Center was 2005. In that year four hurricanes, including Katrina, lashed the U.S. The total damage bill for 2005 was $160 billion.
2011 had the highest number of disasters that cost more than $1 billion. Fourteen disasters, including the deadly tornado that killed 160 in Joplin, Mo., affected the nation in 2011.
TOP IMAGE: Flooding in Maryland from Hurricane Sandy during October 2012 (The National Guard, Wikimedia Commons)