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Texas Is Really Affected By Natural Disasters, Study Shows

According to the National Centers for Environmental Information natural disasters cost $53 billion each year
Drone images of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, 2017. Photo: Roschetzky Photography | Shutterstock

According to a new study by WalletHub, Texas is one of U.S. states most affected by natural disasters. And that comes as no surprise for Texans, after all, The Lone Star State has had it all: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires. These events take a heavy toll on the physical and mental health of residents as well as on the area’s economy.

This recent study compares how natural disasters affect each state by comparing them based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Environmental Information. Researchers developed two key metrics to create their ranking: the number of natural disasters that have cost $1 billion and up in damage since 1980 and the loss amount per capita.

The three states leading the ranking are Mississippi, followed by Louisiana and Texas. If we break the numbers according to the two key metrics, Texas leads the country on the number of disasters costing over $1 billion but came number 8 in per capita loss.

These three states were affected by some of the most expensive natural disasters in American history. According to a report by Newsweek, of the 332 weather and climate disasters that the U.S. has sustained since 1980, Louisiana has been affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 losing 89.6 billion dollars and Hurricane Ida in 2021 which cost 36 billion. 

In 2017, next to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, Texas was the most impacted state by Hurricane Harvey, with the Houston area the most affected due to the heavy rainfall that caused massive floodings. “The highest rainfall amount totaled 48.20 inches at a rain gauge on Clear Creek and I-45 near Houston Texas,” reported at the time the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It was the highest rainfall amount in a single storm for any place in the continental United States ...Two feet of rain fell in just two days!” 

But it’s not just hurricanes weighing over the state. According to a report by the city of Austin, the 2021 freeze had at least $195 billion in economic damage, the wildfires that broke earlier this year had an estimated $23.1 billion in damages for the agricultural sector and, as of August 2022, droughts since 2010 have cost Texas an estimated 10 to 20 billion dollars.

In case you missed it, here's Local Profile's report on the many side effects of high temperatures in North Texas.