37 Hair-Raising Flood and Hurricane Statistics (UPDATED 2024)

Natural disasters such as volcano eruptions, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes affect millions worldwide. However, we often forget that natural disasters affect animals and their habitats as well.

And what’s worse, hurricane statistics indicate that human activities can trigger these disastrous events and make them even worse. 

This article will shed some light on the worst natural disasters in history, their aftermaths, and the effect of these catastrophic events on nature and the animal kingdom.

What Are the Top 10 Eye-Opening Natural Disaster Facts and Stats

To learn more about the deadliest natural disasters in the world and what we can do to lower their impact on our environment, keep reading.

Natural Disaster Statistics Around the Globe

Natural disasters affect millions of people around the world. Sadly, we’re responsible for what’s happening to us. Maybe these statistics will help us realize we need to take action and stop destroying our planet.

1. Natural disasters kill approximately 90,000 people globally every year.


Those who survive need food, clothing, shelter, medical and nursing care, and protection against new disasters. The statistics on natural disasters gathered in 2019 reveal that, on average, 90,000 people die in these events every year.

2. Natural disasters affect 160 million people around the globe.


Some catastrophes include landslides, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, heatwaves, and drought.

All of these affect many lives and destroy physical, biological, and social environments. Natural disasters have a long-term impact on the health, well-being, and survival of people, animals, and plants.

3. Natural disasters cost the US $91 billion in 2018.


Natural disasters have an enormous economic impact. Fourteen natural disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes, and winter storms, affected the US economy in 2018.

Natural disaster statistics from 2018 also reveal that the Western wildfires, Hurricane Michael, and Hurricane Florence caused as much as 80% of the economic loss, or around $73 billion.

4. There have been 208 multi-billion-dollar natural disasters in the US since 1980.


Earthquakes have a tremendous power of destruction and are the most unpredictable of all natural disasters.

Even though scientists know where earthquakes will hit, they can’t predict when they’ll happen. In the last thirty years, hundreds of natural disasters have led to damages exceeding $1 billion, according to the natural disaster statistics for the United States.

5. The natural disaster with the highest death toll since 1980 was a tsunami that claimed 220,000 lives.


Natural disasters cause economic damage and increase the human mortality rate simultaneously.

One of the most devastating natural disasters in recent history was the Boxing Day tsunami that took the lives of 200,000 people in Southeast Asia.

Moreover, the Great East Japan Earthquake was one of the costliest recent natural disasters in the world, causing $210 billion in damages in 2011.

6. Humans are responsible for 90% of all avalanche disasters.

(National Geographic)

Avalanches are falling masses of snow and ice. Whoever finds themselves on a mountain is in danger of triggering an avalanche. Unfortunately, we can’t predict their intensity, but they can be deadly.

In North America, there are 40 deaths from these kinds of natural disasters per year. The most common victims are skiers, snowmobilers, and climbers.

7. Sixteen Sherpas lost their lives in the deadliest avalanche ever to occur on Mount Everest.

(National Geographic)

It takes only a tiny chunk of ice to start a highly destructive avalanche. However, a part of a glacier can also trigger an avalanche.

According to the devastating natural disaster facts, the deadliest avalanche on Mount Everest started when a chunk of ice, the weight of 657 buses, plummeted down on top of hikers.

8. Landslides and debris flow kill between 25–50 people every year.


Landslides happen when debris (earth or rocks) starts moving down a slope. Mudflow is a type of landslide that usually moves very fast and flows in channels. Wildfire areas or those without any vegetation are more prone to landslides.

Hurricane Facts

A cyclone is an umbrella term for a powerful, rotating storm that starts in tropical oceans and creates strong winds and heavy rain along the way.

Cyclones that happen in the Atlantic and Northern Pacific are called hurricanes. Anywhere else, they’re called typhoons or tropical cyclones.

9. Hurricanes form when winds start swirling and reach over 74 mph.


Hurricane facts tell us these storms usually form over warm ocean waters. However, they can also strike the land, “pushing” the water and causing storms and floods that affect people and wildlife.

Scientists still haven’t discovered why hurricanes form. However, they’re positive that evaporation of warm water (79℉) and winds with sustained speeds of 74 mph and over are crucial for the formation of hurricanes.

10. Hurricane Irma had winds of 185 mph, and facts confirm that this was the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recent history.


Hurricane Irma hit Barbuda on September 6, 2017. Its winds were blowing 185 mph for 37 hours, with wind gusts reaching 199 mph. The Category 5 hurricane carried winds that extended 50 miles from its center.  

Additionally, Hurricane Irma generated 7 trillion watts of energy — twice as much as all bombs used in World War II.

The cyclone facts show that Hurricane Irma generated the most accumulated cyclone energy in 24 hours. It was so strong that even earthquake seismometers recorded it.

11. Hurricane Irma caused 129 direct and indirect deaths.


Moreover, Florida ordered the evacuation of 6.5 million people, and there were 77,000 people in 450 shelters.

Material damages were also monumental. The hurricane damaged 90% of the buildings in Barbuda. The above hurricane statistics report that it left close to 60% of the population homeless.

Additionally, almost all communication was destroyed, and the total damage amounted to $50 billion.

12. Hurricane Andrew destroyed 25,524 homes in 1992.


Hurricane Andrew was one of the most devastating hurricanes in the history of America. It hit South Florida on August 24, 1992, with winds moving at 165 mph. It caused significant damage to South Louisiana and the Bahamas.

Hurricane Andrew killed 26 people and destroyed 101,241 homes. The storm caused $27.3 billion in insured losses, second only to Hurricane Katrina.

13. Hurricane Andrew killed 184 million fish in the Atchafalaya Basin.


Besides humans, hurricanes also affect animals and nature. According to the natural disaster statistics by year, Hurricane Andrew killed millions of animals in 1992.

The powerful winds can blow off birds from their nests and rip leaves and branches off trees, leaving them without food. Hurricanes also destroy the homes of wild animals.

14. Hurricane Hugo caused $14.07 billion in damages in the US in 1989.


This was one of the deadliest hurricanes in recent US history. And when it comes to Hurricane Hugo, facts show that it was responsible for more than 100 deaths across the US and the Caribbean.

It started as a group of thunderstorms near Africa’s coast, making five landfalls in Guadeloupe, St. Croix, Vieques, Puerto Rico, Fajardo, and Sullivan’s Island. Hugo reached wind speeds of 160 mph, making it a Category 5 hurricane.

15. Shocking hurricane statistics reveal that Hurricane Katrina killed 1,200 people and caused $108 billion in property damage in 2005.

(National Geographic)

This was one of the costliest recent natural disasters in the US, and its aftermath is still felt today. Even though it was a Category 3 hurricane, it’s considered one of the most devastating disasters in US history due to the damage and the death toll it caused.

16. Hurricanes and typhoons are at least 50,000 feet high.


These are the most massive and violent types of natural disasters on the planet.

The typhoon facts tell us that there are two distinct typhoon and hurricane seasons. The hurricane season in the Atlantic lasts from June through the end of November. The hurricane season in the Northeast Pacific lasts from late May to early November.

However, in the Northwest Pacific, storms occur throughout the year, and there’s no distinct typhoon season. However, the vast majority of them occur between July and November.

Tornado Facts

Tornadoes are violent natural disasters that bring on winds at very high speeds. A tornado is a rotating column of air. It extends from a thunderstorm in the sky to the ground. Very often, black storm clouds, greenish sky, and baseball-sized hail accompany tornadoes. 

A tornado occurs when warm, wet air collides with cold, dry air. The facts about tornadoes tell us that a funnel appears as if it’s descending from a cloud. It hits the ground and moves forward, making freight train sounds.

Tornadoes are so powerful and violent that they destroy almost everything that comes in their way. Unfortunately, every US state has been struck by a tornado.

17. Tornadoes last for 10 minutes on average.

(Smithsonian Magazine)

However, this natural disaster can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours. According to tornado statistics, tornadoes can be accompanied by rain, hail, wind, and lightning. Still, none of these factors are reliable predictors of an oncoming storm.

Tornadoes are so powerful they can pass through valleys, mountains, rivers, and lakes. When a tornado passes over a body of water, it becomes a waterspout.

18. A tornado can reach 300 mph.


Tornadoes can happen anywhere in the world, as they’re not specific to any particular part of the planet. Some of the tornado statistics claim that they have struck every continent except Antarctica.

Tornadoes in Antarctica aren’t impossible. However, they are unlikely to form there because they need a collision of warm and cold air to come to life. It’s not very warm in Antarctica because of the sun’s angle.

19. It’s estimated that 1,000 tornadoes hit the US every year.

(Tornado Alley, NOAA)

Most of these tornadoes hit the US Plains States, also known as Tornado Alley states. These include Oklahoma, Kansas, the Texas Panhandle, Nebraska, eastern South Dakota, and eastern Colorado.

However, Florida also experiences many tornadoes because of its frequent thunderstorms and the dramatic weather changes during hurricanes. 

20. There were 1,218 tornadoes in the US in 2020.


About 78 people perished because of these tornadoes, the highest number since 2011. The highest number of tornadoes was recorded in 2011 when 1,691 tornadoes hit the US. This included two spring events, resulting in $14 billion in losses.

21. Firenadoes can reach temperatures of 2,000℉.

(Live Science)

Fire tornadoes actually aren’t tornadoes at all. These hellish natural disasters occur due to warm, moist air that’s close to the ground, atmospheric instability (a condition that promotes the vertical movement of air), and clashing air fronts that propel the moist air upward.

Most of them occurred in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and the surrounding areas in 1871, when the wildfires moved at 100 mph and burnt 1.5 million acres of land

22. An F5 tornado forms about once per year.


There are actually six tornado intensities, ranging from F0–F5. F0 and F1 tornadoes are weak, with wind speeds of 40–72 mph, and 73–112 mph, respectively. The F5 tornado is the most violent and destructive of them all.

Oklahoma, Alabama, Kansas, Texas, and Iowa are the most common states hit by an F5 tornado. Facts reveal that this violent natural disaster has winds that move faster than 261 mph.

23. The Tri-State Tornado from 1925 broke all of the records.

(Conserve Energy Future)

This national disaster struck parts of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Sadly, it broke all tornado records. It had the longest path length (219 miles), duration (about 3.5 hours), and the highest speed (73 mph) ever recorded. Due to its destruction and violence, it was classified as an F5 tornado.

24. Trees taken down by tornadoes need around 100 years to grow back.

(Destructive Tornadoes)

Tornadoes impact the whole environment. They destroy everything in their path, from farms to tropical sanctuaries known as rainforests. Furthermore, they contaminate water, endanger animals and plants’ lives, and contribute to overall environmental pollution.

Flood Facts

Floods are the most common and destructive natural disasters on Earth. Any place that has rain is in danger of flooding. Though rain is not always the leading cause of floods.

Besides excessive rain, rapid snow, ice melting, broken levees, dams, and even beaver dams can cause floods. Every year, floods cause $40 billion in damage worldwide.

25. Flood stats report that these natural disasters have caused $8 billion in damages every year for the last 30 years.

(Restoration Master)

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the US. They occur across all 50 states and aren’t restricted to coastal areas or lowlands. Any place with water can get flooded, even the deserts when the hard soil absorbs too much rain.

26. A standard speed for a flash flood is 9 feet per second, facts reveal.

(Live Science)

A typical flood takes time to build up. But a flash flood can build steam within six hours of the event that caused it.

The main characteristic of the flash flood is the rapid rise of fast-moving water (10 mph). It has the same power as a wind blowing 270 mph. Flash floods are so powerful that they can move hundred-pound rocks!

27. In the last 50 years, the US has experienced a 20% increase in heavy downpours.

(American Rivers)

Climate changes, global warming, and natural disasters are mutually dependent. Global warming raises the temperatures, leading to the melting of ice caps and rising sea levels, which causes floods. Higher temperatures also lead to a greater capacity for massive precipitation events and floods.

28. The Johnstown Flood of 1889 was the worst in US history, killing 2,209 people. 


The Great Flood of 1889 started when the South Fork Dam — constructed on the Little Conemaugh river — collapsed. The dam couldn’t withstand the pressure exerted by rising water levels of the reservoir. The flood caused the loss of 2,209 human lives and $453 million in property damage.

29. The deadliest flood in human history killed between 1–4 million people.

(Live Science)

One of the deadliest floods occurred in 1931 when the Yellow River in China exceeded its banks, flooding 34,000 square miles and killing millions while leaving 80 million people homeless.

The yellow silt — the inspiration for the river’s name — piled up higher than the land around it, causing the water to spill out of its causeway.

30. Floods can be caused by rainfall rates of only 1 inch per hour.


Some of the more interesting facts about floods state that flash floods can cause flood waves between 10–20 feet tall.

In addition to this, even 6-inch moving floodwater can sweep you off of your feet, even if you’re a tall person. Moreover, a 12-inch flash flood can float your car away.

31. Tokyo has an underground discharge channel that can fill up with excess water during a flood.

(Web Japan)

According to the fun facts about floods, the tunnel is on the outskirts of Tokyo. It’s 164 feet below the ground, almost four miles long, and supported by 59 60-foot-tall pillars, each weighing 500 tons.

The tunnel can discharge accumulated water at a maximum rate of 447 cubic miles per hour.

32. Floods are more dangerous to animals than they are to humans.

(Langhorne Creek Floods)

Besides the apparent danger of drowning, floods prevent access to food and shelter. According to flood statistics, the water can become too contaminated for drinking. Animals living in burrows face the greatest dangers of all because their homes get flooded easily.


33. How many natural disasters were there in 2018?

In 2018, there were 315 natural disasters globally. They resulted in 11,804 deaths, affected more than 68 million people, and caused $131.7 billion in economic damages.

34. How many natural disasters occur each year?

There is no precise answer since the number of natural disasters can vary greatly. In 2018, there were 315 natural disasters, going up to 409 in 2019. However, between 1999–2013, there were 6,873 natural disasters recorded worldwide.

35. Are natural disasters increasing?

Unfortunately, the number of natural disasters has been steadily increasing, from 78 in 1970 to 409 in 2019.

36. What are the 10 deadliest natural disasters?

Every natural disaster is bad and causes destruction, but the following ones were the worst in recent human history:

  • Haiti earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in 2010
  • Hurricane Katrina caused more than $81 billion in damages in 2005
  • Hurricane Andrew was the 5th worst hurricane to hit the US in 1993
  • Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that killed millions of people in 2011
  • Sumatra tsunami that struck 14 countries and killed 275,000 people in 2011
  • Tangshan earthquake that killed 255,000 people in 1976
  • Cyclone Nargis killed 140,000 people in 2008
  • The earthquake that killed 87,000 people in China in 2008
  • The earthquake that killed 26,000 and injured 30,000 people in Iran in 2003
  • The earthquake that killed more than 80,000 people in Pakistan in 2005

37. What natural disaster kills the most people?

Floods are the deadliest of all natural disasters. The Huang He flood is one of the most horrible in recent human history.

The Bottom Line

These hurricane statistics are scary and show just how powerful and unpredictable nature can be. They also suggest that we need to take care of our planet and stop destroying it with deforestation, urbanization, and pollution.

We need to think about the helpless animals and plants that cannot fight climate change but are also affected by natural disasters. By destroying nature, humankind is causing devastating natural disasters that will destroy our planet and leave nothing for future generations.


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