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5 Recent Extreme Weather Events and How to Prepare for 2024

Throughout recent years, natural disasters disrupted the lives of Americans across the nation. Some of these weather events were more expected, like Hurricane Ida in Louisiana or the tornados in Kentucky; while others were unprecedented, like freezing weather in Texas and searing heat in the Pacific Northwest. 

Even disasters that are common in the region can be devastating, and it is becoming increasingly common for unexpected weather events to occur. Texas hasn’t been this cold since the eighties! Whichever part of the world you live in, you can hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Being prepared for the unexpected can reduce the losses that disasters can bring, as well as reduce fear and anxiety during the event. With a disaster preparedness plan, you can take care of yourself and your family in any situation.  

Top 5 Extreme Weather Events in the United States for 2023

2023 has been a year for the record books, with extreme weather events causing significant impacts from coast to coast. Here’s a look at the events that have defined a year of unprecedented weather challenges.

  1. Southern/Midwestern Drought and Heat Wave: In the heart of the U.S., a severe drought coupled with a punishing heat wave resulted in the most costly weather event of the year, with damages soaring to $14.5 billion. The relentless heat and lack of rain wreaked havoc on agriculture and water supplies across the central and southern states.
  2. California Flooding: Early 2023 saw California facing devastating floods, with the damage bill hitting $4.6 billion. The floods disrupted lives, damaged infrastructure, and forced thousands from their homes, marking a stark contrast to the state’s usual drought conditions.
  3. South-East Severe Weather Outbreak: A severe weather outbreak in early March across the Southern and Eastern U.S. caused $6.0 billion in damages. This event featured a series of tornadoes and destructive winds, underscoring the volatile nature of spring weather in these regions.
  4. Tennessee Tornadoes: Tennessee experienced a significant tornado outbreak, highlighting the unpredictable and often dangerous weather patterns that can occur in the U.S. While specific damage estimates were not provided, the impact on communities was profound.
  5. Texas Ice Storm: An ice storm in Texas early in the year led to widespread power outages and travel chaos. The storm’s impact was a stark reminder of the vulnerability of infrastructure to extreme weather conditions.

Top 5 Extreme Weather Events in the United States for 2022

The year 2022 was marked by a series of significant weather events affecting various parts of the country, demonstrating the diverse and challenging nature of U.S. weather.

  1. Hurricane Ian: Florida bore the brunt of Hurricane Ian, one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history, with damages estimated at $112.9 billion. The hurricane’s path of destruction extended beyond Florida, affecting several Southeastern states.
  2. Western and Central Drought/Heat Wave: A prolonged drought and heat wave across the Western and Central U.S. led to significant agricultural and water resource impacts, with damages amounting to $22.1 billion. This event underscored the growing challenges of climate change and water management in these regions.
  3. Missouri and Kentucky Flooding: Intense rainfall caused significant flooding in Missouri and Kentucky, showcasing the power of water and the devastation it can bring to communities.
  4. Southern and Southeastern Tornado Outbreaks: The Southern and Southeastern U.S. faced multiple tornado outbreaks, causing widespread damage and loss of life. These events highlighted the tornado risk that persists in these areas, particularly in the spring.
  5. Tropical Cyclones Fiona, Ian, and Nicole: A trio of tropical cyclones, Fiona, Ian, and Nicole, impacted various parts of the U.S., bringing with them a mix of wind, rain, and flooding.

Top 5 2021 Extreme Weather Events

2021 will go down in history for plenty of reasons, but a few major weather events will top the list! From Louisiana to the Pacific Northwest, it was a wild year to put it lightly. 

  1. Heat Wave in the Pacific Northwest: This region is typically known for its cool weather and consistent rainfall. Hot weather is so uncommon that most homes don’t even have air conditioning. Hundreds of people in Oregon and Washington died from heat-related illnesses throughout the event where temperatures reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Extreme Cold in Texas: Another unexpected weather event hit Texas in February 2021. Roads were impassable, the power grid failed, and most Texans were stuck in their homes for days on end. (We gathered the top 3 takeaways from Texans on how to better prepare for disaster scenarios going forward.)
  3. Tornadoes in Kentucky: Kentucky sees its fair share of tornadoes every year, but December 2021 brought tornadoes of a larger-than-average magnitude. Two hundred and fifty miles were badly affected by the storm. 
  4. Wildfires in Washington and California: Wildfires are becoming common in the Western part of the United States, but that doesn’t make them any less devastating. California’s Dixie wildfire and Washington’s Bootleg fire destroyed over 1700 miles between the two states.
  5. Hurricane Ida in Louisiana (and elsewhere!): Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisana, knocking out power throughout the south and destroying an entire town. But this hurricane’s devastation made it further north, causing flooding as far as Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

Prepare Yourself for Climate Disasters in 2024 with our Disaster Preparedness Guide

You never quite know when disaster will strike, so it’s best to be prepared. If there’s anything we have learned from 2021, it’s to prepare for the unexpected! We can help you identify the items needed for disaster preparedness in any situation. We’ve got the tips and supplies you need to be ready for anything 2024 can throw at you. 

Stock Up on Emergency Supplies

In an emergency, help will always come. But you don’t know how long it will take to get there. Damage to roads, the power grid, and sustained bad weather can make it difficult or even impossible for emergency services and personnel to get to you right away. That’s where your basic emergency preparedness can really make a difference. 

Your supplies can make all the difference for your comfort and survival in an emergency. Consider taking stock of your existing supplies and identifying what kinds of disasters are most common in your area. 

Think about you and your family’s unique needs when it comes to things like medications. From basics like food and water supplies to heavy-duty emergency bugout bags, get your survival gear in order. 

Get a full breakdown of what kind of basic supplies you and your family will need in an emergency. 

Make a Disaster Preparedness Plan and Share It with Your Family

Forget if an emergency will happen, and start thinking about what to do when it happens. Anticipating disaster is unpleasant, and no one wants to do it. But even worse is going into an emergency unprepared. 

Your emergency plan should be common knowledge and often discussed in your family. This plan will keep everyone calm and focused when disaster strikes. Be sure to revisit the plan regularly to make changes as needed. 

Organize and Protect Your Documents

Evacuations are common in many kinds of emergencies, like tornadoes, wildfires, and hurricanes. You may have a few days or only a few minutes to prepare your things and get out. To simplify the stress of such an event, pre-organize your documents in safe, protected locations. 

In an evacuation, you will need to take all records and documents with you. This list should include:

  • Copy of birth certificates
  • Copy of any adoption records
  • Copy of marriage licenses
  • Drivers licenses/ID cards
  • Passports
  • Any deeds, titles, etc. for all property and vehicles
  • Copy of insurance policies
  • All bank, retirement, and investment account numbers
  • Copy of insurance information
  • Copy of prescriptions
  • List of emergency contacts

Use this list as a jumping-off point for your information! Maintaining these details in an easy-to-access place for emergencies will prevent future headaches. Further, ease your stress by keeping your information in a fireproof storage bag.

Consider large-Scale Changes to Your Home and Lifestyle

In several of recent disasters, people weathered the storm in their own homes. Proactively making changes to your home can come in handy when experiencing a disaster from home. 

Solar panels or generators can keep your power running even if the grid fails like it did in Texas. Purchase things you think you may not need on a regular basis, like fans or space heaters. And keep extra batteries around and charged to keep your phone running. 


No one wants to think about an emergency before it happens. The only thing worse than thinking about a disaster before it happens is being surprised by a disaster you never saw coming. 

Unfortunately, we should expect climate disasters to continue to strike throughout 2024. By taking precautions, you can mitigate the damage to your life caused by natural disasters. Even basic disaster preparedness can protect you. 

Get a hold of the emergency gear on the Batten Emergency Marketplace and get prepared for 2024.