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America’s 5 Costliest Natural Disasters Since 1980

These five disasters racked up more than $400M in damages


Hurricane Sandy is having a profound impact on the northeast and the rest of the country, and some estimates put damages from the storm at roughly $50 billion. But how does that compare to other natural disasters that America has endured in the past? helps answer that with its recent list of the 10 costliest disasters since 1980. Overall, those disasters cost more than 22,000 lives and caused more than half a trillion dollars in damages.

Here’s a look at the five costliest disasters:

  1. Hurricane Katrina: The 2005 hurricane caused more than 1,800 deaths and did more than $145 billion in damages from which New Orleans still has not recovered.
  2. 1988 Drought: The 1988 drought devastated the central and eastern portions of the United States. In all, it cost the U.S. more than $76 billion.
  3. Northridge Earthquake: This 1994 quake in near Los Angeles collapsed buildings and roads, causing $67 billion in damages as well as 60 deaths.
  4. 1980 Drought: Another killer of a dry and hot summer this drought destroyed crops and encouraged fires across the east and mid-west. This drought racked up $54.8 billion in damages.
  5. Hurricane Andrew: 1992 brought Hurricane Andrew to Florida and Louisiana and cost more than $40 billion in damages.

Bankrate’s full list of costly disasters can be viewed here.

More on disasters:

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