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What Is the Scariest Natural Disaster in the U.S.?

Tornado illustration.

It seems like no matter what season, the weather is in the news and the headlines are about natural disasters impacting homeowners from North Carolina to California and Montana to Texas. From hurricanes to floods and wildfires to mudslides, we’ve seen our share of natural disasters hit the U.S. over the past few years. What do you think the scariest natural disaster would be to experience? We decided to find out what Americans think about the scariest natural disasters by going right to the source.

The Scariest Natural Disaster

We surveyed 2,000 people from across the country, asking, “What’s the Scariest Natural Disaster?” The scariest disaster with 34% of the vote were tornadoes. Earthquakes were next on the list of America’s fears with 24% of the vote, followed by hurricanes (19%), flooding (11%), mudslides (9%), and lightning (3%).

Natural Disasters in the U.S.

From coast to coast, major weather events have impacted Americans across the country this year. From an active hurricane season to the most damaging wildfire season on record, large weather events have impacted millions of people and caused billions of dollars in damages to home and business owners.

In the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks major weather events across the country. Since 2010, there have been more than 75 severe weather events in the U.S. that each caused more than $1 billion in property damages. These costly events included winter storms, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and droughts.

Here are how some of the scariest natural disasters have affected homeowners across the U.S.:

Tornadoes — More than 20% of homeowner’s insurance claims each year are wind-related. The U.S. experiences more tornadoes than any other place in the world. In the first half of 2020, there were 600+ tornadoes recorded in the U.S.

Earthquakes — There have already been four earthquakes larger than a 5.5 on the Richter scale in the U.S. this year, affecting residents across Nevada, Idaho, Utah, and Alaska. Learn more about the most earthquake-prone U.S. locations here.

Hurricanes — The most expensive storms based on property damage totals in the past 10 years were:

  • Hurricane Harvey (Texas)
  • Hurricane Maria (Puerto Rico)
  • Hurricane Sandy (Northeastern U.S.)

Flooding — Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 in damage to a home. Here’s how to prepare your home in advance to reduce flood damages.

Mudslides — According to the CDC, landslides and debris flows cause 25 to 50 deaths annually in the U.S. Areas affected by wildfires are at greater risk for mudslides.

Lightning — The Insurance Institute reports an increase in homeowner’s insurance claims related to lightning damage by 11% over the past few years. In addition, damage totals are increasing in amount as homeowners add more smart devices to their homes.

Preparing for an Emergency in Advance

The best way to protect your home and your family from a natural disaster is to prepare in advance. That means before an emergency occurs, identify what major weather events are common in your area and understand how they could impact your home. Next, create an emergency plan and an emergency kit, that includes food and other supplies ready to go in an emergency. Your plan should include emergency contact information, homeowner’s insurance details, and an evacuation plan.

To ensure your home is ready for an emergency, secure a professional assessment to help identify issues and fix small problems that could get much worse in an emergency. For example, homeowners with basements may be impacted by flooding, which can cause expensive damage to your home. Prepare for a flood in advance by waterproofing and flood-proofing your basement, installing a sump pump, and moving electrical hookups and appliances above the flood line. Make sure your sump pump is powered by a backup battery for the best results in an emergency.

Investing in professional waterproofing or crawl space encapsulation is the best way to protect your home from flood and water damage and can also help reduce pests and protect the home’s foundation. For a professional assessment and free estimate to help protect your home from emergencies, contact your local Groundworks basement waterproofing experts today.