Natural disasters in the U.S. 1900-2016, by type

This statistic shows the number of natural disasters that occurred in the United States from 1900 to 2016, by type of disaster. There have been 24 heat waves in the United States from 1900 to 2016.

Natural disasters in the United States

The United States ranks second among countries with the most natural disasters. In 2015, a total of 22 natural disasters occurred in the U.S. Only China, with a total of 36 disasters in 2015, suffered from more natural disasters.

Most natural disasters on U.S. territory are of meteorological nature. For example: during the period from 1900 to 2016, about 106 tropical cyclones hit the U.S. coast. During that period 40 earthquakes and 2 tsunamis hit the U.S. A total of 13.5 million people were directly affected by the aforementioned 106 tropical cyclones.

Tornadoes also frequently affect the United States. In 2016, the U.S. was struck by about 971 tornadoes. Tornadoes are more common in the United States than in any other country. Tornadoes mostly strike east of the Rocky Mountains, in the so-called “Tornado Alley” stretching from northern Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Most of the storms occurred during tornado season, which lasts from March to August. In 2015, tornadoes caused economic damages totaling about 320 million U.S. dollars.

Aside from meteorological disasters, wildfires also cause a formidable amount of economic damage in the United States, destroying property and threatening lives. In 2016, there were about 68 thousand wildfires in the United States.

Number of natural disasters in the United States from 1900 to 2016, by type

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Release date

November 2016


United States

Survey time period

1900 to 2016

Supplementary notes

* Figures are as of November 17, 2016.

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Statistics on "Natural Disasters in the United States"

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