A Year of Living Dangerously: A Look Back at 2012

Every day we live on the edge of all kinds of danger, but in 2012 weather proved to be especially dangerous.

In fact, 2012 was the second-costliest year on record since 1980, second only to the devastation of hurricane Katrina in 2005.

These extreme weather events certainly took their toll on lives and property. The National Climactic Data Center has recently published their annual list of Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters by totaling the number of lives lost and total property damages caused by each severe weather event. The results, to say the least, are startling.

2012 unleashed 11 singular weather events that cost our nation over a billion dollars each – resulting in 300 deaths and together costing our nation over $110 Billion.

A map of these disasters is pictured below:


Credit: National Climactic Data Center via NOAA

The map above shows the states that were most heavily impacted by severe weather in 2012.

Top states that suffered Billion-Dollar Events:  Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio. 

2012 Billion Dollar Weather-Climate Disasters By State

Credit: NCDC via NOAA
A map of the states affected by one billion dollar weather disasters by number.

This is due in part to a pattern of increased storms that correlates with warmer ocean temperatures that help hurricanes form. We have been on this cycle of increased temperatures and storms since 1995, according to WeatherBug meteorologists at Earth Networks.


So, what were these top 5 Billion-dollar weather disasters of 2012?

5. Severe Weather in the Plains, East, and Northeast

Nasa Goddard Photo and Video - Derecho in LaPorte, Indiana, July 2012

Credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video via Flickr
This Derecho roared through LaPorte, Indiana on June 29, 2012.

The raging storms that occurred between June 29 and July 2 brought thunderstorms and high winds to many northeastern states, and even caused a derecho, a wind-based fast moving thunderstorm.

Total Cost: $2.9 Billion

Lives Lost: 28


4. Tornadoes in the Southeast and Ohio Valley

Donald Lee Pardue Tornado

Credit: Donald Lee Pardue via Flickr

Between March 2-3, 2012, there were 75 confirmed tornadoes in AL, GA, IN, OH, KY, and  TN.

Total Cost: $3.1 Billion

Lives Lost: 42


3. Severe Weather in the Midwest and Ohio Valley

Rondostar East Dallas Hailstorm

Credit: Rondostar via Flickr
A hailstorm swept through east Dallas.

Between April 28 and May 1, 38 Tornadoes in this area and excessive damage from hail proved difficult.

Total Cost: $3.3 Billion

Lives Lost: 1


2. Drought and Heatwave all across the United States

CraneStation Corn Drought

Credit: CraneStation via Flickr

This yearlong drought, the worst since the 1930s, resulted in harvest failure for corn, sorghum and soybean crops, and the heatwave further hurt humans and crops alike.

Total Cost: $30 Billion Dollars

Lives Lost: 123


1. Hurricane Sandy

david_shankbone Sandy Flooding East Village

Credit: david_shankbone via Flickr
Flooding in the East Village of New York caused by tropical storm Sandy.

High winds and coastal surges in October, 2012 coupled with wind, rain, and snow in states all across the northeast made Sandy the number one most disruptive weather event of 2012. It was accompanied by excessive power outages and closed the New York Stock Exchange for two days.

Total Cost: $65 Billion

Lives Lost: 159


We hope that you are able to use our alerts and weather forecasts to stay safe in 2013.

– The WeatherBug Team


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This entry was posted in General, Weather Stats.