The superstorm was the year’s most expensive disaster, causing $65 billion in damage in seven east coast states. Last year’s drought/heatwave in the western half of the country was the second-most expensive at $30 billion. Rounding out the list of 11 billion dollar disasters are incidents of severe weather, tornadoes, wildfires and Hurricane Isaac.
The costly collection of floods, storms, drought and wildfires made 2012 the second-most expensive year for disaster recovery. Only 2005, with just five billion-dollar disasters, cost more. According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge, inland flooding and high winds caused $125 billion in damage ($148 billion in today’s dollars). Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Dennis and Hurricane Rita eached caused billions in damage. A massive drought/heatwave also baked the central U.S. from March through August, costing a mere $1 billion.