Publication Date May 2, 2018

The Deadliest Types of Weather in 2017

United States
Weather-related deaths in 2017 from flooding, lightning, tornadoes, heat and rip currents. Image: NOAA

Hundreds of lives were lost in the United States last year due to a broad spectrum of weather events, ranging from flooding and extreme heat to bitterly cold temperatures.

Flooding killed 116 people in 2017, the most of any category, according to the hazardous weather statistics report released by NOAA last week. A large majority of that toll was in Texas where 70 flood-related deaths occurred. Almost all of those were from the disastrous heavy rains from Hurricane Harvey.

This is the third consecutive year that more than 115 people were killed by flooding, which is well above the 30-year annual average of 85 lives lost. Fifty percent of the 418 flood deaths from 2015-2017 occurred in vehicles, a sobering reminder that you should never try to drive through floodwaters of any depth.

Extreme heat was responsible for 107 fatalities last year, the second most of any category in NOAA's report. Although heat doesn't grab headlines like hurricanes and tornadoes do, it has on average contributed to the most weather-related deaths annually (134) over the last 30 years.