WASHINGTON — Last year added five events to the nation's list of weather disasters that did a billion dollars or more in damage, the National Climatic Data Center said in an updated listing of costliest calamities.
Four hurricanes and a Midwest drought joined the agency's register of costly disasters, bringing the total to 67 since 1980.
Hurricane Katrina, with a financial toll of more than $100 billion, became the nation's most expensive disaster in history, according to NCDC. That storm also claimed more than 1,300 lives.
Before Katrina, the most expensive climate- or weather-related disasters since 1980 were the 1988 drought and heat wave, $61.6 billion; the 1980 drought and heat wave, $48.4 billion; and 1992's Hurricane Andrew, $35.6 billion, according to the climate center.
In addition to Katrina, last year's billion-dollar disasters were Hurricane Wilma, $10 billion; Hurricane Rita, $8 billion; Hurricane Dennis, $2 billion; and the drought that struck the Midwest in spring and summer, $1 billion.
The five billion-dollar disasters in 2005 ranked it second on the list of most disasters in one year. Only 1998 topped it, with seven.
1998 also had more variety in its disasters: Hurricanes Georges and Bonnie, flooding in Texas, a summer drought and heat wave in the South, severe thunderstorms with hail in Minnesota, a tornado outbreak in the Southeast, and a January ice storm in the Northeast.
The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., is part of the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The full list is online at www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/reports/billionz.html.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.