'Billion-dollar weather': The 10 most expensive US natural disasters
Here are the top 10 priciest US natural disasters in billions of 2013 dollars adjusted for inflation, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
9. Hurricane Rita (September 2005)/hurricane Wilma (October 2005): $19 billion
Hurricanes Rita and Wilma tie for ninth place, each causing $19 billion in damage in a year that ranks as the second costliest year for natural disasters since 1980.
Rita came first in September, following the devastation of hurricane Katrina less than a month before. Sustained winds peaked at 175 m.p.h. as the storm tracked west and northwest through the Gulf, but weakened to about 120 mph when it made landfall along the Texas and Louisiana border. Despite a massive evacuation, there were 119 fatalities and the storm caused $19 billion in damage.
Wilma damage totals also reached $19 billion, but the October 2005 storm was less deadly, and causing 35 casualties. Before making landfall, first in Mexico and then in southwest Florida near Naples, Wilma's minimum central pressure reached 882 millibars, the lowest pressure ever recorded for an Atlantic tropical cyclone. That puts it among the most intense hurricanes in the Atlantic on record.