Weather 101

These are America’s 50 most dangerous weather counties

Although the comforts of the modern age make life easier, they don’t always make us safer. Unpredictable in nature, weather-related events hold the capability to devastate entire lives.

Since 1980, weather and climate disasters have cost the U.S. over $1 trillion in property costs. The human cost is a more elusive figure. In 2015 alone, 517 people died due to weather events. Additionally, severe weather carries a PTSD risk. Weather presents a real danger to any community. Whether you live in Tornado Alley, a coastal area with a hurricane risk or a quiet mountain town, each area has its own risks.

The data scientists at WeatherDB, part of the Graphiq network, crunched the numbers to determine the counties in each state with the deadliest weather. Fatality data and cost estimates were collected from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Severe Weather Data Inventory. The total fatalities from each county were normalized to fatalities per 100,000 people. Fatality numbers and damage estimates are the sums from the 1996-2015 collection period. Population data comes from the 2014 American Community Survey. Only counties with at least 10,000 residents were considered for the list. The county with the most fatalities per 100,000 residents was selected for each state. The following list of counties is ranked based on rate of fatalities.

Note: Damage and fatality data reported from National Weather Service zones that cover multiple counties were distributed equally among the counties within the zone.

#50. Fairfield County, CT

Fatalities per 100K People: 1.82 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 14 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $32 million Population: 934,215    

#49. Franklin County, MA

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 2.81
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 2
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $67 million

Population: 71,300

#48. Washington County, RI

Fatalities per 100K People: 3.16 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 3 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $30 million Population: 126,609    

#47. Matanuska-Susitna Borough, AK

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 4.17
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 8*
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $4.4 million

Population: 93,843
*Due to the mapping of National Weather Service zones to counties, the number of fatal weather events could be over-reported

#46. Sussex County, DE

Fatalities per 100K People: 5.89 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 11 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $68 million Population: 203,737    

#45. Lyon County, NV

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 9.11
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 12*
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $484 million

Population: 51,579
*Due to the mapping of National Weather Service zones to counties, the number of fatal weather events could be over-reported

#44. Cape May County, NJ

Fatalities per 100K People: 10.39 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 7 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $176 million Population: 96,286    

#43. Talbot County, MD

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 10.56
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $12 million

Population: 37,894

#42. Piscataquis County, ME

Fatalities per 100K People: 11.58 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 2 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $4.5 million Population: 17,271    

#41. Clarendon County, SC

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 11.61
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 7
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $20 million

Population: 34,439

#40. Rutland County, VT

Fatalities per 100K People: 13.14 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $80 million Population: 60,864    

#39. Mackinac County, MI

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 18.05
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 1
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $410 thousand

Population: 11,080

#38. Walsh County, ND

Fatalities per 100K People: 18.10 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 2 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $44 million Population: 11,052    

#37. Coos County, NH

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 18.63
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $15 million

Population: 32,202

#36. Philadelphia County, PA

Fatalities per 100K People: 20.75 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 79 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $57 million Population: 1,546,920    

#35. Shannon County, SD

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 21.42
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 3
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $6.1 million

Population: 14,005

#34. Colfax County, NM

Fatalities per 100K People: 22.62 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $4.2 million Population: 13,264    

#33. Pike County, IN

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 23.56
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $16 million

Population: 12,733

#32. Teton County, ID

Fatalities per 100K People: 24.48 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4* Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $3.1 million Population: 10,212   *Due to the mapping of National Weather Service zones to counties, the number of fatal weather events could be over-reported  

#31. Buchanan County, VA

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 25.33
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $41 million

Population: 23,683

#30. Lincoln County, WA

Fatalities per 100K People: 25.94 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 3* Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $42 million Population: 10,409   *Due to the mapping of National Weather Service zones to counties, the number of fatal weather events could be over-reported  

#29. Bayfield County, WI

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 26.55
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 3
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $4.1 million

Population: 15,064

#28. Coconino County, AZ

Fatalities per 100K People: 27.24 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 18 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $40 million Population: 135,817    

#27. Delaware County, NY

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 31.76
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 5
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $437 million

Population: 47,223

#26. Massac County, IL

Fatalities per 100K People: 33.01 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $54 million Population: 15,148    

#25. Big Horn County, MT

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 38.23
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $6 million

Population: 13,079

#24. Ritchie County, WV

Fatalities per 100K People: 39.14 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 1 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $7 million Population: 10,221    

#23. Kauai County, HI

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 39.28
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 16
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $32 million

Population: 68,745

#22. Pitkin County, CO

Fatalities per 100K People: 42.38 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 18* Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $3 million Population: 17,303   *Due to the mapping of National Weather Service zones to counties, the number of fatal weather events could be over-reported  

#21. Curry County, OR

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 43.27
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 6*
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $9.8 million

Population: 22,341
*Due to the mapping of National Weather Service zones to counties, the number of fatal weather events could be over-reported

#20. Morgan County, KY

Fatalities per 100K People: 44.37 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 1 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $8.4 million Population: 13,522    

#19. York County, NE

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 50.74
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $127 million

Population: 13,797

#18. Calhoun County, FL

Fatalities per 100K People: 54.58 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 2 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $162 million Population: 14,657    

#17. Osage County, KS

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 55.68
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 8
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $10 million

Population: 16,165

#16. Adams County, OH

Fatalities per 100K People: 56.45 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 5 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $33 million Population: 28,342    

#15. Yellow Medicine County, MN

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 58.63
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 3
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $32 million

Population: 10,233

#14. Sublette County, WY

Fatalities per 100K People: 61.38 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 12* Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $1 million Population: 10,183   *Due to the mapping of National Weather Service zones to counties, the number of fatal weather events could be over-reported  

#13. Gray County, TX

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 61.48
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $63 million

Population: 22,771

#12. Macon County, TN

Fatalities per 100K People: 62.00 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 1 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $41 million Population: 22,582    

#11. Bertie County, NC

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 62.87
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 3
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $48 million

Population: 20,677

#10. Scott County, AR

Fatalities per 100K People: 63.50 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 3 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $25 million Population: 11,024    

#9. Washita County, OK

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 68.83
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 2
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $148 million

Population: 11,622

#8. Mitchell County, GA

Fatalities per 100K People: 69.04 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $47 million Population: 23,175    

#7. Mariposa County, CA

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 69.65
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 8*
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $138 million

Population: 17,946
*Due to the mapping of National Weather Service zones to counties, the number of fatal weather events could be over-reported

#6. Butler County, IA

Fatalities per 100K People: 73.50 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 3 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $165 million Population: 14,966    

#5. Juab County, UT

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 77.30
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 25*
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $1.4 million

Population: 10,349
*Due to the mapping of National Weather Service zones to counties, the number of fatal weather events could be over-reported

#4. Marion County, AL

Fatalities per 100K People: 91.72 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 4 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $197 million Population: 30,527    

#3. Hancock County, MS

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 128.50
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 3
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $5.9 billion

Population: 45,136

#2. Jasper County, MO

Fatalities per 100K People: 147.01 Number of Deadly Weather Events: 11 Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $3 billion Population: 116,996    

#1. St. Bernard Parish, LA

 

Fatalities per 100K People: 342.95
Number of Deadly Weather Events: 2
Total Damage (Inflation Adjusted to 2015 Value): $11.7 billion

Population: 41,114
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