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

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Number of events
Convective storm310
Flood (Unspecified)246
Tropical cyclone106
Riverine flood102
Forest fire53
Ground movement (Earthquake)39
Heat wave24
Flash flood16
Land fire (Brush, Bush, Pasture)16
Drought14
Cold wave10
Landslide5
Viral disease3
Tsunami2
Severe winter conditions2
Extra-tropical storm2
Parasitic disease1
Coastal flood1
Ash fall1
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About This Statistic

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 39 earthquakes 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 2011, a total of 25 natural disasters occurred in the U.S. Only China, with a total of 29 disasters in 2011, registered more natural disasters that the United States.

Most natural disasters on U.S. territory are of meteorological nature. For example: during the period from 1900 to 2013, about 104 tropical cyclones hit the U.S. coast and were registered by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). During that period 38 earthquakes and 2 volcanic eruptions occurred in the U.S. A total of 13.5 million people were directly affected by the aforementioned 104 tropical cyclones.

Tornadoes also frequently affect the United States. In 2012, the U.S. was struck by about 936 tornadoes, which was less than average. 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 2012, tornadoes caused economic damages totaling about 1.6 billion 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 2011, there were about 74 thousand wildfires in the United States, burning a total area of 8.7 million acres of land.

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