US disasters cost billions

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Irene111 REUTERS Flood waters from the Passaic River fill the streets covering automobiles including a Chevrolet SUV days after Hurricane Irene in Paterson, New Jersey, August 31, 2011.

A record 10 weather disasters in the US have each caused at least $1 billion in damage:

- Hurricane Irene, Aug. 20-29. Damages and deaths are still being tallied, but estimates are running more than $7 billion and close to 50 deaths from Vermont to North Carolina.

- Upper Midwest flooding, much of the summer. The Missouri and Souris Rivers overflowed in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Damages: $2 billion.

- Mississippi River flooding, spring and summer. Damages neared $4 billion as the river flooded from Tennessee south, and spillways were opened to flood rural areas to save cities along the river.

- Drought and heat wave continues in Texas, Oklahoma and neighbouring states. Damage has passed the $5 billion mark.

- Tornadoes hit the Midwest and Southeast on May 22-27. The toll: 177 dead, more than $7 billion in losses. One tornado killed more than 140 people in Joplin, Missouri, making it the deadliest single twister since records were started in 1950.

- Tornadoes in the Ohio Valley, Southeast and Midwest on April. 25-30, devastating the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Toll: 32 deaths and more than $9 billion in damages.

- Tornadoes hit from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania on April 14-16. Toll: $2 billion in damage and 38 deaths, mostly in North Carolina.

- Outbreak of 59 tornadoes in Midwest and Northeast April 8-11. Damages: $2.2 billion. No deaths.

- Outbreak of 46 tornadoes in Central and Southern states April 4-5. Toll: Nine deaths and $2.3 billion in damages.

- Blizzard stretching from late January until after Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, paralysed cities from Chicago to the Northeast. Toll:

36 deaths and more than $2 billion in damages. - Sapa-AP

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