Joplin tornado: Will it be one of the Top 5 costliest?

Joplin tornado, as Sunday's twister has come to be called, is blamed for more than 100 fatalities in the southwest Missouri community. It's the latest in a string of tornadoes this spring. Though hurricanes and earthquakes tend to do more financial damage per event, tornadoes and related events have been responsible for an average 57 percent of all insured catastrophe losses in the United States since 1953, according to a 2009 study by insurance credit-rating service A.M. Best. Not counting the Joplin tornado, where damage assessments have only begun, here’s a look at the five most financially devastating tornadoes in the US, according to the A.M. Best study and federal estimates (reported in 2011 dollars):

5.Omaha, Neb., 1975 – $1 billion in damage

The Joplin tornado, with winds up to 198 miles per hour that tore through the length of the southwest Missouri city, left a six-mile path of destruction, devastating entire neighborhoods. At least 116 fatalities were blamed on the storm. Historically, the most destructive tornadoes, such as the 1975 twister in Omaha, Neb., have done more than $1 billion worth of damage. (Charlie Riedel / AP )

A tornado touched down for about 20 minutes on the afternoon of May 6, 1975, just south of Omaha. The tornado, which was more than 200 yards wide, left a path of about 10 miles. It moved northeast through the city, damaging residential and business areas. In all, the winds were responsible for three fatalities – and injuries to 133 people.

Xenia, Ohio, 1974 – $1.1 billion

Damaged cars and building in Xenia, Ohio, are shown in this 1974 file photo. The tornado that struck Xenia was part of a larger outbreak of tornadoes in multiple states. (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service/File )

Dozens of tornadoes touched down across Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky during the “1974 super outbreak.” The tornadoes caused 159 fatalities and injured 4,145 people on April 3 and 4. The worst of the tornadoes, which bulldozed Xenia, Ohio, killed more than 30 people and injured 1,100. The twister destroyed more than 1,000 homes in the area.

Oklahoma City, Okla., 1999 – $1.5 billion

The remaining walls of a destroyed home that contains a note of thanks to all those who helped this family is shown in this May 1999 file photo. (Andrea Booher/Federal Emergency Management Agency/File )

A tornado that traveled 38 miles between Chickasha, Okla., and Oklahoma City on May 3, 1999, devastated rural and urban areas of the state. The very powerful twister, rated an F5 on the Fujita scale, was on the ground for nearly an hour and a half, causing 46 fatalities and injuring 800 people. More than 8,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. The tornado was the most severe of the 74 tornadoes that touched down across Oklahoma and Kansas in less than a 21-hour window.

Lubbock, Texas, 1970 – $1.6 billion

This satellite image shows the path of the tornado that went through Lubbock, Texas, on May 11, 1970. The twister damaged 15 square miles of the city in about half an hour. (Courtesy of Topeka Capital Journal/File )

The tornado that killed 26 people in Lubbock, Texas, on May 11, 1970, was the second, and more severe, of two tornadoes to strike that evening. It touched down about 9:30 p.m., traveled northeast through the city, and lasted about half an hour. It injured more than 1,500 people. The F5 tornado was about 8.5 miles long and affected about 15 square miles of the city.

Topeka, Kan., 1966 – $2.2 billion

This rendering of the 1966 tornado in Topeka, Kan., emphasizes the relatively low death toll for a tornado of that magnitude. The Topeka tornado's path was 22 miles long. (Courtesy of NOAA/NWS/File )

The most financially destructive tornado on record struck Topeka, Kan., at about 7 p.m. on June 8, 1966. The tornado blasted through the city, moving at about 30 miles per hour, leaving a path destruction about 22 miles long. The F5 storm was about half a mile wide. But for all its destruction to property, the twister was blamed for only 16 fatalities and injuries to about 500 people.