Iowa Is In The Top 5 States Most Impacted By Natural Disasters


If I asked you “what is the first thing you think of when you hear natural disasters?”, what do you think of? Volcanoes? Earthquakes? Hurricanes? Wildfires? I think the same thing. But Iowa, which doesn’t get really any of those, is in the top 5 states most impacted by natural disasters according to a new study. How is that possible? Don’t forget about floods, tornadoes, and, oh yeah, Derechos.

Our friends at WalletHub recently sent us a study that really surprised us when we saw the results. They released States Most Impacted by Natural Disasters and Iowa was very high on this list.

Before we should you how high Iowa is, let’s reminisce about the most recent natural disaster that happened two years ago:

2020 Derecho

On Monday, August 10th, 2020, the state of Iowa and northern Illinois experienced one of the worst storms in history. Unless you were a meteorologist, you didn’t know what to call it besides a devastating storm. After everything was said and done, the only word people could say in Iowa and throughout the Quad Cities was derecho.

NWS Chicago

A derecho is a line of powerful, quick windstorms sometimes joined by thunderstorms traversing a large expanse of land. This derecho traveled a total of 770 miles in just 14 hours.

The derecho did $11.0 billion in damage and took 4 lives.

You also have to remember the Quad Cities flood of 2019, the Midwest flooding in 2008, tornadoes in the state, and more flooding. So yes, natural disasters happen in the state.

How Is Iowa In The Top 5 Most Impacted States?

In order to determine which states are most impacted by natural disasters, WalletHub looked at data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Centers for Environmental Information, and compared the 50 states across two relevant metrics:

  • Number of Climate Disasters Causing $1 Billion+ in Damage (1980-2022)
  • Loss Amount from Climate Disasters Causing $1 Billion+ in Damage per Capita (1980-2022)

Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of vulnerability to natural disasters.

WalletHub then determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and then ranked the states from most to least impacted by natural disasters.

Iowa Is The 4th Most Impacted States By Natural Disasters

According to WalletHub, Iowa is the 4th most impacted state by natural disasters. For the overall score, Iowa scored 81.90.  This is how Iowa ranked in the two key relevant metrics:

  • Number of Climate Disasters Causing $1 Billion+ in Damage (1980-2022) – 22nd
  • Loss Amount from Climate Disasters Causing $1 Billion+ in Damage per Capita (1980-2022) – 5th

Illinois isn’t too far behind its neighboring state. Illinois is the 15th most impacted state by natural disasters. Illinois’ overall score is 60.28. Here is how Illinois ranked in the two key relevant metrics:

  • Number of Climate Disasters Causing $1 Billion+ in Damage (1980-2022) – 1st
  • Loss Amount from Climate Disasters Causing $1 Billion+ in Damage per Capita (1980-2022) – 27th

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

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