Weather Hazards

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Weather hazards impact the entire country, with enormous effects on the economy and public safety. Since 1980, weather/climate disasters have cost the U.S. economy more than $1.5 trillion. In an average year, the United States will be affected by six billion-dollar weather/climate disasters, but this number has increased in recent years: from 2013-2017 the average was 11.6 events.


Tornado funnel. Image Credit: NASA

Weather hazards include hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, hail, winds, and winter weather. Many of these phenomena are related to atmospheric conditions that can be monitored and forecast.   Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Latest News

Hazards fire houses
January 16, 2019 On January 16, the House passed the Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 268) to provide over $12 billion in emergency funding for communities affected by earthquakes, wildfires, and other natural disasters in 2018. The bill includes amendments that would more than double the...
NASA hurricane satellite image
August 29, 2017 In anticipation of Hurricane Harvey making landfall on the Gulf Coast, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were preparing for the massive storm by monitoring its...
Mammatus clouds that are usually associated with thunderstorms.
August 28, 2017 Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Gulf coast of Texas as a category 4 storm on August 25, dumping massive amounts of rain on southeast Texas and surrounding areas. Widespread flooding and storm damage ensued as the storm moved over the land, displacing and endangering the lives...
April 6, 2017 The Hazards Caucus Alliance, a network that supports the Congressional Hazards Caucus, hosted a briefing on April 6 about how geologic and hazards mapping and monitoring are used to prepare and protect communities from natural hazards. The Hazards Caucus provides congressional staff...
NASA hurricane satellite image
April 18, 2017 The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act (H.R.353) was signed into law by President Trump on April 18. This law prioritizes U.S. leadership in weather forecasting and research by authorizing new forecasting programs and support existing programs. The bill primarily focuses...
Atlantic waves
January 13, 2017 The Gulf Islands National Seashore will be the site of the largest coastal sand restoration project in U.S. history. As part of ongoing restoration and protection efforts an agreement between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the United States Army Corps of Engineers will...
NASA hurricane satellite image
January 9, 2017 The House passed the “Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act” (H.R.353), on January 9. The bill directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to increase weather-related research, forecasting, and communication. Spurred on by the deadly tornadoes that...
NASA hurricane satellite image
October 27, 2016 The The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are partnering to study how to improve communications during severe weather events and to encourage people to respond appropriately. The joint effort will include research from...
NOAA U.S. Winter Outlook Temperature Map
On October 20, 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its U.S. Winter Outlook, and the updated La Niña forecast took center stage. Mike Halpert, Deputy Director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC), and David Miskus, also of CPC, briefed reporters and...
Screenshot of interactive map of historical hurricane tracks. Image Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
#MapOfTheDay! Today the Critical Issues Program (@AGI_GeoIssues) shared Historical Hurricane Tracks, an interactive map of historical hurricane tracks around the world from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (@NOAA), which you can find at For more information...

Case Studies & Factsheets

Pre-Ike (left) and post-Ike (right) ASTER imagery of Galveston Island, the Bolívar Peninsula, and the mainland in August 2006. Healthy (red) and dead (brown) vegetation shows storm surge inundation effects. Image Credit: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observ.

Defining the Problem Hurricanes bring not only intense rainfall, but also high winds and flooding. This flooding is powered by the hurricane storm surge: a rise in coastal sea level caused by lowered barometric pressure and by wind blowing the ocean onto the land. The result is that waves and...


Background In areas prone to winter precipitation, transportation infrastructure must be able to quickly respond to snow and ice on roadways. Ice removal is a vital service in these communities. Deicing chemicals melt ice by lowering the temperature at which it melts. They can also prevent new...

Tornado funnel. Image Credit: NOAA

Defining the Problem Following a tornado, first responders need maps of the width and location (swath) of the damage area. The biggest challenge when integrating remote sensing into disaster response is timeliness. To be most useful, remote sensing imagery maps must reach emergency management...

GOLI Online Courses

GOLI Course: Assessing, Mitigating, and Communicating Flood Risk. Image courtesy of Maria Coxx Lamm
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

Flooding is a perennial hazard for rivers and coasts alike. Every year, flooding results in billions of dollars of damage and the loss of dozens to hundreds of lives across the United States. Efforts to mitigate this hazard rely on the work of geoscientists, planners, and communicators to assess...

GOLI Course: Planning for Coastal Storm and Erosion Hazards; Image credit: USGS/USFWS - photo by Greg Thompson
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

Coastal hazards are a widespread challenge that cost millions (and sometimes billions) of dollars in the U.S. every year due to property loss and spending on mitigation measures. Based on the most recent U.S. Census, over 39% of the U.S. population lives in areas that may undergo significant...

Geological Surveys Database Publications

1997, United States Geological Survey

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1995, United States Geological Survey

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1989, Delaware Geological Survey
Heavy precipitation associated with intense thunderstorm activity occurred in northern New Castle County, Delaware, from 0500 to 1300 hours on July 5, 1989. The most intense rainfall, which fell between 0600 and 1100 hours, is classified as a 100 year event in New Castle County. Record high stream...
1982, Pennsylvania Geological Survey

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1974, Pennsylvania Geological Survey

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1992, Delaware Geological Survey
On January 4, 1992 an intense storm moved from the east across the Delmarva Peninsula and the Chesapeake Bay. Its track was the result of the low pressure being pulled westward by a strong cold-cored upper low moving across Georgia and South Carolina. The storm exhibited tropical/subtropical...
2007, Maine Geological Survey

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1993, Delaware Geological Survey
On December 10, a low pressure system moved rapidly north-northwest from eastern North Carolina and Virginia, up the Chesapeake Bay to a position just west of Chestertown in Kent County, Maryland by 0700 on December 11. The system then moved irregularly to the southeast, stalled for several hours...
2006, United States Geological Survey

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2000, United States Geological Survey

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