Eleven weather and climate disasters topped $1 billion in damages in the U.S. in 2012, according to a preliminary count by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Beyond the monetary cost, the disasters were responsible for 349 deaths. The deadliest was Sandy with 131 lives lost. The summer heat wave was second with at least 121 deaths, although the exact number of heat stress deaths is not known.

The disasters:

  • Southeast/Ohio Valley Tornadoes

  • Texas Tornadoes

  • Great Plains Tornadoes

  • Midwest/Ohio Valley Severe Weather

  • Southern Plains/Midwest/Northeast Severe Weather

  • Rockies/Southwest Severe Weather

  • Plains/East/Northeast Severe Weather (“Derecho”)

  • Hurricane Isaac

  • Western Wildfires

  • Hurricane Sandy

  • U.S. Drought/Heatwave


Aerial views of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast (Mark C. Olsen/U.S. Air Force/New Jersey National Guard, Wikimedia Commons)