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NOAA illustration of USA billion dollar disasters.Jan. 27, 2006 The NOAA National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., updated the Web site that lists U.S. billion dollar weather and climate disasters from 1980 to the present. A crippling Midwest drought and four hurricanes from the 2005 deadly, record-breaking season are on the list—Dennis, Rita, Wilma and Katrina, this nation's costliest hurricane ever. (Click NOAA illustration for larger view of USA billion dollar disasters. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

Since 1980, the U.S. has endured 67 weather-related disasters, with damages at—or exceeding—$1 billion at the time of the event. Fifty-eight of these disasters have occurred since 1988, with total unadjusted damages/costs exceeding $380 billion. Seven events happened in 1998 alone—the most for any year in the summary period, though other years have recorded higher damage totals.

Last year, Hurricane Katrina was responsible for about 1,300 deaths and a preliminary estimate of more than $100 billion in damages. Combined, preliminary figures show that Hurricanes Dennis, Rita and Wilma claimed 166 lives, with more than $20 billion in damages. The drought in the Midwest, which lasted from spring to summer, destroyed more than $1 billion in corn and soybean crops throughout Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The NCDC list is available online at with graphics and links to more extensive reports on each event, beginning with the most recent.

The NOAA National Climatic Data Center is part of the NOAA Satellite and Information Service. NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters

NOAA National Climatic Data Center

NOAA Hurricane Katrina Report (PDF)

Media Contact:
John Leslie, NOAA Satellite and Information Service, (301) 457-5005