Ohio’s worst disasters: $1 billion weather events since 1980

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tracks storms that have caused at least $1 billion in damages. Most of them are the largest events that affected multiple states. 

Here are the top 10 events by which Ohio was significantly affected. 

1Southeast/Ohio Valley/Midwest tornadoesApril 25-28, 2011$11 billion
2Midwest/Southeast tornadoesMay 22-27, 2011$9.8 billion
3East Coast blizzard and severe weatherMarch 11-14, 1993$9.3 billion
4Severe storms/torndaoesMay 3-10, 2003$5.4 billion
5Freeze, cold waveDec. 15-25, 1983$4.9 billion
6Blizzard/floodsJan. 1996$4.7 billion
7Midwest/Ohio Valley hail and tornadoesApril 6-11, 2001$4.3 billion
8Rockies/Midwest/Eastern severe weatherMay 18-23, 2014$3.8 billion
9Southeast/Ohio Valley/Midwest tornadoesMarch 11-14, 1993$3.3 billion
10Plains/East/Norteast severe weatherJune 29-July 2, 2012$3.1 billion

Some of the most notable:

1. April 2011 tornado outbreak. Approximately 343 tornadoes touched down between the April 25 and April 28, the worst hitting Alabama. The strongest of the storms hit the south, including Alabama.

2. May 2011 tornadoes. An estimated 180 tornadoes were sighted in the devastating line of storms from May 22-27, including EF-5 in Joplin, Mo., that caused 160 deaths. 

A tornado moves through Tuscaloosa, Ala. Wednesday, April 27, 2011. A wave of severe storms laced with tornadoes strafed the South on Wednesday, killing at least 16 people around the region and splintering buildings across swaths of an Alabama university town. (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Dusty Compton)
Photo: Dusty Compton/AP

3. East coast blizzard and severe storms, March 1993. This set of storms, which included everything from tornadoes in Florida to heavy snows of more than 2 feet on the eastern seaboard, greatly affected Ohio as well. 

4. May 2003 tornadoes and severe weather. Severe storms set a modern one-week record for tornadoes with an estimated 400 hitting the Ohio and Tennessee valleys from May 3-10.

5. Snowstorms of January 1996. Approximately one to four feet fell on the Appalachians, mid-Atlantic and Northeast, creating serious flooding afterwards.

Cedarville area tornado submitted photo Ben Supplee

The following table are the three worst droughts and heatwaves that have hit Ohio, according to NOAA.

1U.S. Drought/HeatwaveJune 1-Aug. 31, 1988$41.2 billion
2U.S. Drought/Heatwave2012$31.8 billion
3U.S DroughtMarch 1- Nov. 30, 2002$12.1 billion

The data show that even though the most damaging natural occurrence has been drought and heatwaves, a single storm can still create a catastrophe for those affected. 

Note that the amount shown was paid in total and is not what each state paid in damages.


» Dayton sets rainfall record

» Storms shatter homes in Nebraska, Iowa

» Sizzling heat wave strikes southwestern U.S.

» Damage reported in wake of storms

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