The Worst Natural Disaster in Every State’s History

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The island of Maui in Hawaii is experiencing truly catastrophic wildfires, which have left at least 36 people dead, as of the time of this writing. Locals and tourists alike have been trapped by the rapidly-advancing fires, which have have reportedly spread to the neighboring islands of Hawaii and Oahu. The fires have spread so quickly due to the strong winds from Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 storm moving through the Pacific, south of Hawaii. These fires have quickly become one of the worst disasters in Hawaii in recent memory, but are still far from the most catastrophic in the state’s history, at least based on death counts.

As one of the biggest countries in the world, the United States is also one of the most geographically diverse — from deserts to forests to miles of coast line. While this comes with many advantages, this unfortunately leaves the country vulnerable to all kinds of natural disasters.

Different parts of the United States face different types of natural disasters. The West Coast is at risk of wildfires, earthquakes, and even volcanic eruptions. The Southern part of the country is frequently hit with tornadoes, and the East Coast faces the threat of devastating hurricanes every year. These natural disasters not only destroy property and present serious problems to the economy, but also claim hundreds of lives every year. Midwestern areas near rivers are often inundated with massive floods — these are the worst floods in American history.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed government sources on the weather event in each state’s history that caused the highest number of fatalities to determine the worst natural disaster in every state.

Thanks to their geography and location, some states have not faced any mass-casualty weather events. Many other parts of the country have been less fortunate, experiencing massive storms and floods that have claimed the lives of hundreds or even thousands of Americans. Many such events, like the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas killed so many people that getting an accurate final death toll was virtually impossible, especially during that era.

American weather continues to become more volatile. In 2022, there were 18 weather events that each caused over $1 billion in damage. And in many parts of the country, these weather events could become even more destructive because of global warming — here are the deadliest billion-dollar disasters in US history.

Click here to see the worst natural disaster in every state
Click here to see our methodology