What Were the Costliest Disasters in US History?

Hurricane Katrina tops the list of the costliest disasters in US history. Adjusted for 2010 figures, the damage caused by the hurricane exceeded $45 billion US Dollars. That figure is twice the cost of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001. All told, eight of the 10 costliest disasters in US history have been hurricanes. Along with the 9/11 attacks, the January 1994 earthquake in Northridge, California, rounds out the top ten US disasters.

More facts about US disasters:

  • Hurricane Katrina was the third worst hurricane in US history, based on the loss of life. The Galveston hurricane of 8 September 1900 is believed to be the worst hurricane disaster in US history. It is believed to have claimed as many as 8,000 lives, including those lost because of a tidal surge.

  • The Northridge California earthquake of 1994 is considered one of the worst in the history of the US, but it was not the strongest. In 1964, an earthquake that registered 9.2 on the Richter scale occurred in the area of Prince William Sound in Alaska.

  • The 1927 Mississippi River flood is considered to be one of the worst floods in US history. The flooding involved sections of seven states — Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois — and had a significant effect on disaster planning in the nation.

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