The United States is famous for its crazy weather. Nowhere else on Earth will you find such a diverse mixture of events, year-round. We’ve got it all—from blizzard conditions to heatwaves, tornadoes, hurricanes and derechos, floods and wildfires, extreme droughts and torrential rainfall. Some parts of the country are just unlucky enough to experience most or all of these catastrophic weather events as the seasons change and years go by.
All of this begs the question: When do we see the wildest in the United States? Doubtless people from around the country will have their own opinions based on the types of extreme weather they experience most often. But with all the data out there about extreme weather events, we feel it’s safe to say that nationwide, there will be one season that outstrips the others!
Extreme Weather Statistics
One indicator of extreme weather is the average number of fatalities caused each year by various types of weather. Take a look at these statistics from The National Weather Service:
- Heatwaves top the charts as the deadliest weather, claiming 130 lives per year on average.
- Floods claim an average of 81 victims per year.
- Tornados cause an average of 70 fatalities per year.
- Lightning and hurricanes are nearly tied with lightning causing an average of 48 fatalities and hurricanes causing 46.
You might think that perhaps summer is the craziest season nationwide—especially since heatwaves aren’t limited to the southern portions of the nation, as evidenced by the Chicago Heat Wave of 1995, a 5-day span in July that became one of the most famous heatwaves in history.
But heatwaves are only a small part of the picture. The following data is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and shows the number of weather events that caused more than a billion dollars’ worth of damage, by month, across the nation between 1980 and March 2017. It includes weather events of all kinds (thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, cold snaps, etc.):
It’s easy to see that spring, between March and June, are the wildest months—particularly for people in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, which are listed among Sperling’s riskiest places to live.
Crazy spring weather isn’t limited to these states, however. It’s a volatile time of year as we move between winter and summer which means that weird spring weather can happen just about anywhere.
Spring Really Is Wild!
When spring rolls around, you can expect the unexpected. This is when tornado season is just getting started in the South and Midwest, and with tornadoes come thunderstorms, hail, lightning, and even the possibility for a derecho, or an extremely high wind event. All throughout the country, you can expect late spring freezes and even blizzards, which cause billions of dollars in crop loss and sometimes even property damage. Toward the end of spring, some areas may see early heatwaves, and if you live along the Gulf Coast or in the southeast, you may even experience an early hurricane or tropical storm. Spring is also the time when floods are most common.
Watch these crazy spring storms with large hail in Texas!
What do you think? Is spring the wildest time of the year in your neck of the woods, or do other seasons present larger challenges for you? Share your comments below.
Amber Kanuckel is a freelance writer from rural Ohio who loves all things outdoors. She specializes in home, garden, environmental, and green living topics.