So far this year, there have been nine natural disasters that have hit the United States that have totaled at one billion dollars each. This number ties with 2008 but Hurricane Irene may be the natural disaster that breaks the tie and makes 2011 the leader in natural disasters. The natural disasters that the United States has suffered this year include drought, summer floods, blizzards, and tornados.
Until Hurricane Irene finishes her destructive run up the Northeast coast and moves on out to sea or fizzles out as a hurricane no one knows what the estimate of the damage will be. When it hit North Carolina it was a Category 2 hurricane but as it moves up the coast it is starting to weaken. They are estimating that there could be twenty billion dollars in total economic losses and thirteen point nine billion dollars in insured losses especially when disruption of shipping and lost work hours are figured in the total losses.
So far Hurricane Irene has caused considerable damage along the entire eastern seaboard and there has also been a lot of damage from inland flooding that they have not figured in the estimate of damage costs.
The reasons that storms, such as hurricanes and tornados, are causing more damage and being so expensive than in past decades is that with the growing population there are more buildings and houses that get destroyed, especially along the coastlines where hurricanes hit.