Unfortunately, natural disasters have become a regular occurrence in this day and age, with scientific data proving that they’re increasing in both frequency and intensity due to climate change. Whether they are coastal flooding or hurricanes, western wildfires, extreme temperatures, or tornadoes, with these increases, the facts will show that more and more people are being affected firsthand, regardless of where they live.

The situation is exacerbated by the continued population growth and increased vulnerability of assets in the path of each disaster, especially in the American South, West, and Coastal regions.

Jump To: Cost of Home Damage from Natural Disasters | Natural Disasters by State | Wildfire Statistics | Hurricane Statistics | Tornado Statistics | Flooding Statistics | Heat Wave Statistics | Impact of Natural Disasters on Home Insurance

Key Natural Disaster Facts and Statistics

The number and cost of weather and climate disasters are increasing in the United States due to increased exposure, vulnerability, and climate change. Some of the bigger historical points when it comes to natural disasters in the U.S.:

  1. Between 1980 and 2022, the U.S. has sustained 341 weather and climate disasters, with the overall damage costs reaching or exceeding $1 billion. 5
  2. The combined cost of the 341 natural disasters recorded between 1980 and 2022 is more than $2.475 trillion. 5
  3. The U.S. collectively racked up $165 billion in damages, and natural disasters killed at least 474 people in 2022. 5
  4. Tropical cyclones have caused the most damage ($1,333.6 billion) and are responsible for the highest number of deaths (6,890) compared to all natural disasters from 1980–2022. 5
  5. In 2022, severe storms caused the highest number of billion-dollar disaster events. 23
  6. Floods are the most common natural disasters in the U.S. 24
  7. Natural disasters affect 218 million people and claim 68,000 lives per year. 18
  8. Over the last seven years (2016–2022), 122 separate billion-dollar disasters have killed at least 5,000 people and cost >$1 trillion in damage. 5

Cost of Home Damage from Natural Disasters

Each year extreme weather events cause staggering economic losses and the displacement of large portions of our nation’s population from their homes. This has a ripple effect that touches people’s lives but also the real estate industry, insurance industry, and finance sectors. When it comes to the cost of home damage alone:

  1. Over 14 million homes, or 1 in 10, were affected by natural disasters in 2021, totaling over $56 billion in damage costs. 1
  2. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 still ranks as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, with over $160 billion in property damage. 2
  3. Disasters in 2022 alone caused an estimated $99 billion in insured property losses. 2
  4. Hurricane Ida in 2021 totaled $75 billion in damages and caused 96 deaths. 40% of homes in places like Grand Isle, Louisiana, were completely lost. 3
  5. The 2021 western wildfire season caused an estimated $10 billion in damage and 8 deaths. The Marshall fire in Boulder County, Colorado, damaged or destroyed over 1,000 homes and businesses alone. 3
  6. Overall, Florida has the largest number of residential homes that could sustain hurricane damage. Over 2.8 million homes in the state could get damaged by a category 5 hurricane. 4

Natural Disasters by State 

  1. Of the 303 hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. as of 2022, 120 have hit Florida — roughly 40% of all hurricanes. With Hurricane Ian, Florida also experienced the worst flood event in 2022 as well. 19
  2. Texas is affected annually by more tornadoes than any other state, with 155. 20
  3. Historically, California has experienced 4 out of the top 5 biggest wildfires in history, all since 2017. 21
  4. The ongoing Western-Central Drought has so far cost upwards of $22 billion dollars and has reduced Lake Mead on the Nevada/Arizona border to its lowest level since completion in the 1930s. 3

Wildfire Statistics

  1. Humans cause about 85% of all wildfires yearly in the United States. 17 
  2. More than 71.8 million homes across the United States were exposed to wildfire risk in 2022. 6
  3. Nationally, 68,988 wildfires were reported in 2022, compared to 58,985 wildfires in 2021. These wildfires consumed 7,577,183 acres nationally, compared to 7,125,643 acres in 2021. 7
  4. A total of 2,717 structures were reported destroyed by wildfires in 2022, including 1,261 residences,1,294 minor structures, and 91 commercial/mixed residential structures. 7
  5. California leads the country with the most wildfires and number of acres burned. 22
  6. The main causes of wildfires by humans are leaving campfires unattended, debris burns, equipment usage and malfunction, discarded cigarettes, and arson. 17
  7. Since January 2023, 1,688 fires (10th most since 2000) have already burned 12,882 acres. 8

Hurricane Statistics

  1. The official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November. 9 
  2. The 2022 season ended with 14 named tropical systems, including eight hurricanes, with two major hurricanes. 6
  3. Hurricane Katrina is the most expensive hurricane in history, with approximately $161 billion in damage. Hurricane Harvey is the second most expensive storm, with damages totaling $125 billion. 5 (NOAA)
  4. Hurricane Katrina is also the deadliest hurricane on record in U.S. history, with 1,518 fatalities. 9
  5. According to modeling firm RMS, Hurricane Ian likely caused $53 billion to $74 billion in insured losses from Florida to the Carolinas. Hurricane Ian was the 15th weather event in 2022 to be added to NOAA’s billion-dollar disaster list. 5
  6. All hurricanes recorded between 1980 and 2021 have resulted in a collective $1.1 trillion in damage. Each storm has averaged $20.5 billion in damage. 10

Tornado Statistics

  1. In 2022, there were over 1,240 tornadoes in the United States. 10
  2. In an average year, about 1,000 tornadoes are reported nationwide. 11
  3. Tornado intensity is measured by the enhanced Fujita (EF) scale. The scale rates tornadoes on a scale of 0 through 5, based on the amount and type of wind damage. 11
  4. The top five U.S. states with the highest number of tornadoes in 2022 were Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Minnesota, and Florida 11
  5. The costliest tornado in the U.S. occurred in August 2020, which spanned from Tornado Alley and eastward to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. The total damages cost more than $9.2 million. 11
  6. In 2022, the highest number of fatalities by a tornado occurred in Iowa, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, and Florida. 11

Flooding Statistics

  1. Since 1980, 37 billion-dollar flood events have resulted in 676 fatalities. 5
  2. Between 2010 and 2021,104 people died in floods, on average, per year.5
  3. The top four states with the highest billion-dollar flood events in the last decade were  Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri. 5
  4. The cost of billion-dollar flood events reached $177.9 billion in 2022. 5
  5. Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive flood disaster on record in U.S. history. 5

Heat Wave Statistics

  1. Heat waves are occurring more often than they used to in major cities across the United States. Their frequency has increased steadily, from an average of two heat waves per year during the 1960s to six per year during the 2010s and 2020s. 14 
  2. Worldwide, 2016 was the warmest year on record, 2020 was the second-warmest, and 2012–2021 was the warmest decade on record. 15
  3. Since 1980, there have been 30 billion-dollar droughts that have caused over 4,275 deaths. 5
  4. The average heat wave season across the 50 cities is about 49 days longer now than it was in the 1960s. 14
  5. Since 1999, people aged 65+ have been several times more likely to die from heat-related cardiovascular disease than the general population. 16
  6. Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Mississippi were the top four states that experienced the highest temperatures in 2022. 16

Impact of Natural Disasters on Home Insurance

Many homeowners insurance providers have consulted with FEMA and private management agencies to assess risks associated with homes in disaster-prone areas, most notably when it comes to flooding, hurricanes, and wildfires. This has caused an overall increase in premiums and coverages that directly affect homeowners in certain locations.

Homeowners want to make sure that they have the proper coverage for a particular weather event, depending on what they’re regularly experiencing. This way, they can reduce their financial and property losses in the event of damage from a natural catastrophe.


  1. https://www.corelogic.com/press-releases/corelogic-climate-change-catastrophe-report-estimates-1-in-10-u-s-residential-properties-impacted-by-natural-disasters-in-2021/
  2. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-us-catastrophes
  3. https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/beyond-data/2021-us-billion-dollar-weather-and-climate-disasters-historical
  4. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-hurricanes
  5. https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/billions/
  6. https://firststreet.org/research-lab/published-research/article-highlights-from-fueling-the-flames/
  7. https://www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov/intelligence/2022_statssumm/annual_report_2022.pdf
  8. https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/fire/202301
  9. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-hurricanes
  10. https://coast.noaa.gov/states/fast-facts/hurricane-costs.html#:~:text=Of%20the%20310%20billion%2Ddollar,6%2C697%20between%201980%20and%202021.
  11. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-tornadoes-and-thunderstorms
  12. https://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/monthly/newm.html
  13. https://www.weather.gov/arx/usflood
  14. https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-heat-waves#ref7
  15. https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-us-and-global-temperature
  16. https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-heat-related-deaths
  17. https://www.nps.gov/articles/wildfire-causes-and-evaluation.htm
  18. https://www.cred.be/
  19. https://www.finder.com/states-with-the-most-hurricanes
  20. https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/tornado-alley-states
  21. https://earth.org/worst-wildfires-in-us-history/
  22. https://www.nifc.gov/fire-information/fire-prevention-education-mitigation/wildfire-prevention
  23. https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/2022-us-billion-dollar-weather-and-climate-disasters-historical-context
  24. https://www.ready.gov/floods
Editorial Contributors
Alexis Curls

Alexis Curls

Content Strategist & Digital PR Manager

Alexis Curls is a content strategist on the Today’s Homeowner team. She specializes in home services research. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations.

Learn More