The top ten worst U.S. weather events of 2013, according to Weatherwise magazine, include several historical tornado outbreaks, winter storms that wreaked havoc on millions of residents, and numerous flash flood events. The worst weather event of the year, was the EF5 Moore, Oklahoma tornado.
"Part of a multi-state outbreak that cost $3.75 billion, the Moore twister left an almost unimaginable path of destruction across the southern suburbs of Oklahoma City on May 20 destroying 1,100 homes and taking two dozen lives", according to the compiler of the top ten list, meteorologist and Weatherwise Contributing Editor, Doug Le Comte.
The year's number two event occurred just eleven days later; the El Reno, Oklahoma tornado set a record as the largest tornado ever measured (2.6 miles wide) and the first to take the lives of storm chasers. The Boulder flash flood in September placed number three, the historic February blizzard that dumped up to three feet of snow on New England placed four, and October's northern Plains blizzard ranked number five.
Internationally, the super typhoon that wiped out towns across the central Philippines on November 8 stood out as the number one weather event of the year. Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most powerful cyclones to ever make landfall, its ferocious winds and tsunami-like twenty-foot storm surge left over 7,800 people dead or missing, 28,000 injured, and 1.1 million homes damaged or destroyed.
This was the second year in a row that a tropical cyclone in the Philippines topped the international list, TC Bopha having taken over 1,900 lives in December 2012. Haiyan was the world's deadliest tropical cyclone since Nargis killed over 100,000 in Burma in 2008. In second place, the worst flooding to hit the Danube and Elbe River basins in over sixty years killed twenty-five people in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.
In third place, the deadliest flash flood in 2013 followed a two-day deluge of nearly two feet of rain in northern India, taking an estimated 6,500 lives and washing away tens of thousands of structures. Record summer heat across China, South Korea, and Japan along with severe drought in China took fourth place. Severe heat that contributed to Australia's hottest summer rounded out the top five.
Below is the full top 10 list for the U.S.:
1) Moore, Oklahoma Tornado. May 20. The EF5 tornado left 24 dead and 237 injured. 1,100 houses destroyed. Part of a multistate outbreak costing $3.75 billion.
2) El Reno, Oklahoma Tornado. May 31. The EF3 at up to 2.6 miles wide was the largest ever measured. Four storm chasers died.
3) Boulder, Colorado Flash Flood. September 9-16. Unprecedented September rainfall exceeding 9 inches in 24 hours and 14 inches in 4 days unleashed historic flooding on Boulder and other foothill towns.
4) Northeast Blizzard. February 8-9. The epic nor'easter dumped 20-30 inches of snow across southern and eastern New England, and 3 feet of snow on south-central Connecticut. Wind gusts to 80+ mph in CT and MA.
5) Northern Plains Blizzard. October 4-7. One of the nation's most extreme October blizzards buried the Black Hills of South Dakota with up to 4 feet of snow and killed thousands of cattle.
6) Western and High Plains Drought. January-December. Dry, hot weather set the stage for major wildfires, including Colorado's most destructive fire, California's third largest wildfire, and the Arizona blaze that killed 19 firefighters. Drought and April freezes cut the winter wheat crop by 26%, and California has driest year in at least 119 years.
7) Central U.S. Winter Storm. February 19-24. The vast storm spread snow from California to Maine, dumping the heaviest snow in 50 years on Wichita, Kansas, and lashing the Southeast with heavy rains. Up to 22 inches snow in Kansas.
8) Plains to Great Lakes Winter Storm. April 8-12. This enormous storm system left over a foot of snow from Wyoming to Minnesota, including record snows in South Dakota. Large hail and tornadoes struck the Plains and South.
9) Plains to Northeast Winter Storm. February 24-28. This storm blanketed at least 11 states with one foot or more of snow, setting February snowfall records in northern Texas (19 inches in Amarillo) and bringing whiteout conditions to Denver.
10) Midwest Tornado Outbreak. November 17. One of the three most destructive November outbreaks on record resulted in 65 twisters, including the EF4 that destroyed large parts of Washington, IL.
Below is the abbreviated top 10 international list:
1) Super Typhoon Haiyan Philippines. November 8. One of most powerful storms to ever make landfall. 7,800 dead or missing.
2) Central Europe Spring Floods. Late May-early June. 25 dead. $22 billion in economic losses.
3) Flash Flooding Northern India. June 16-17. Estimated 6,500 dead.
4) East Asia Summer Heat Wave and Drought. July-August. Hottest August on record in China and South Korea. China drought damage $10 billion.
5) Summer Heat Wave Australia. Hottest day (January 7), hottest month (January) and hottest summer (December-February). Numerous wildfires.
6) Typhoon Fitow in China. October 6. One of nine typhoons making landfall in China. Strongest October landfalling storm since 1949.
7) Northeast Brazil Drought. January-June. Devastating impact on livestock and crops. $8 billion cost.
8) Alberta Canada Flood. June 20-21. Most of downtown Calgary submerged in Canada's most expensive flooding disaster.
9) Cyclone Phailin in India. October 12. Strongest cyclone to cross India's coast since 1999.
10) Hurricane Manuel in Mexico. September 15-19. Tens of thousands displaced by floods and landslides that left 169 dead on the Pacific coast. Tropical Storm Ingrid made landfall nearly the same time on the Atlantic coast.
Note: Dollar damage figures provided by Aon Benfield, a reinsurance brokerage firm.