Dec 28, 2000

Fact Sheet Shows Flooding Worst Disaster in U.S.

Floods are the number one disaster in the United States in terms of lives lost and property damage, according to a new fact sheet released by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Since 1900, 10,000 lives have been lost in floods. Every year, flooding incurs more than $1 billion in property damage.

"The USGS routinely makes many direct measurements during floods and after floods subside," said USGS research hydrologist and fact sheet author Charles Perry. "We based this new fact sheet on more than 110 years of data that the USGS has collected."

The century's deadliest flood occurred in Galveston, Texas, during a September 1900 hurricane. The hurricane killed more than 6,000 people, most of whom drowned as flood waters rose from the storm surge and heavy rains.

Floods are the most costly of all natural disasters in the United States. In the spring and summer of 1993, long periods of excessive rainfall in the upper Mississippi River Basin flooded nine states, killed 48 people and resulted in record losses of more than $20 billion-about half of these damages were to residences, businesses, public facilities, and transportation facilities. More than 55,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and 532 counties received federal disaster aid.

The fact sheet may be viewed at

(Source: U.S. Geological Survey)