America’s Curse of Billion Dollar Storms

Since 1980, America has experienced 298 “natural” disasters, each of which caused overall damages exceeding $1 billion (National Centers for Environmental Information). The total cost exceeds $1.975 trillion, but that was before the Category 4 Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana on Sunday and caused an estimated $70B in damages. In the 1980s, the annual average was less than 3 billion-dollar disasters. That more than doubled in 2000s. It doubled again in the 2010s, with an annual average of more than 10 billion-dollar disasters (“Billion Dollar Disasters,” In 2017, there were 10 “disaster events” costing more than $1 billion each, capped off in August with Hurricane Harvey, the costliest storm in American history (National Centers for Environmental Information). Most of Harvey’s damage to southern Texas and Houston was caused by flooding from record rainfall, more than 50 inches in a mere five days. The storm didn’t pass through; it camped. The damage was estimated to be $160 billion, similar to the combined effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy (“At $160B, Harvey expected to be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history,” UPI, Aug. 30, 2017). In 2020, there were a record 22 billion-dollar disasters, shattering the previous record of 16 in 2017. In 2020 a record 10.2 million acres of forest burned. The total average annual cost since 2016 has been $121 billion. God has always used extreme weather to judge sinful mankind. “The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed” (Deuteronomy 28:24-25). “And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered (Amos 4:7).

(Friday Church News Notes, September 3, 2021,,, 866-295-4143)