Disasters, heat caused $48M in damage, 5 deaths in Md. in 2012

Weather disasters including tornadoes, the derecho storm and Hurricane Sandy caused at least $48 million in property and crop damages in Maryland last year, the costliest since 2003, according to data released Thursday.

Five people also died from extreme weather – high temperatures, for the most part – and 10 people were injured. The data do not include things like traffic deaths or electrocutions from downed power lines, considered to be indirectly caused by the weather, said Brenton MacAloney, a meterologist with the National Weather Service in Silver Spring.


Detailed data has not yet been released on the sources of the damage. Possible culprits include Sandy, which brought major storm surges, damaging winds and heavy snowfall across the state, the derecho storm that brough 70 mph straight-line winds June 29, and a spate of tornadoes across Central Maryland in storms June 1.

Four people died excessive heat in Maryland; one person died because of severe winds. The death toll matched that of 2011; there were 9 weather-related deaths in the state in 2010.


Weather was most deadly in 2012 in New York, where 57 people died. Illinois had the second-most deaths, with 47, and Missouri was third with 42, largely victims of excessive heat. The casualties were fewer than in 2011, when 250 deaths occurred just in Alabama.

Extreme weather caused $38.7 billion in combined property and crop damages in 2012, up from the 2011 total of $23.9.

The damage figures includes only those reported to the federal government, typically only those losses covered by insurance, said Maureen O'Leary, a spokeswoman for the National Weather Service, which publishes the statistics. It doesn't include uninsured losses or indirect losses like those that occur because of an interruption in business or productivity.

Damage from droughts is also underrepresented in the data because the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn't release some information on those losses to avoid swings in the markets.

The weather service data is pulled from reports made to meteorologists and is not designed to be all-encompassing. More liberal tallies suggest Hurricane Sandy, for example, was linked to as many as 11 deaths in Maryland and as much as $27 million in damage.

Read the weather service's Natural Hazard Statistics reports for more detailed information.

Here is a look at weather-related damage and deaths in Maryland over the years, according to the reports:

Year Fatalities Total damage ($ in millions)
2012 5 47.9
2011 5 23.3
2010 9 3.71
2009 1 3.11
2008 3 6.77
2007 2 0.65
2006 15 39.4
2005 4 3.7
2004 4 10
2003 10 596.6
2002 54 129.6
2001 7 107.6
2000 5 7.4
1999 15 61.3
1998 4 44.8
1997 5 49
1996 6 109
1995 14 17.6