Floods may be 2017's 6th billion-dollar disaster

Posted at 10:31 AM, May 05, 2017

The record setting flooding in the central United States will likely become the country's sixth weather disaster to surpass the billion dollar mark in 2017.

So far this year, three different tornado outbreaks in three different parts of the country, flooding in California and a late freeze across the Southeast have all added up to at least a billion dollars in damages a piece.

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Missouri and Arkansas have been hit the hardest, but the recent flooding in the middle of the country has been widespread.

And it's expected to spread out even more.

Both minor and major rivers along the Mississippi River from Missouri and Illinois all the way down to Louisiana and Mississippi have flooded or will flood in the coming weeks, so damages are likely to continue to add up.

In the past week, nearly a foot of rain has fallen across parts of Missouri and Arkansas, causing rivers to swell to record levels, well above any flood stage ever seen before.

The small creeks and streams are always the first to flood, and the larger rivers flood days or even weeks later once the water from the smaller rivers feed into the larger ones.

Because of this, flood damages are far from over, and communities up and down the Mississippi could see minor to major flooding in the coming weeks as the excess water works its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

All of these damages will continue to add up, and once the tallies are in, they'll likely easily surpass the billion dollar mark, bringing the year's total to six — all before hurricane season.

This year is off to a quick start for the number of billion dollar weather disasters, similar to 2016 and 2011, which each had 15 and 16 disasters, respectively.

The average number of billion dollar weather disasters in the last five years is 10.6 events. Since records began in 1980, that average number is only 5.5 events.

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