Weather is often a go-to conversation filler or ice-breaker. When people don’t know what else to say, they gripe about the heat or the cold or the rain or the snow. But severe weather is far more than an inconvenience, and it can be a matter of life or death.
Take thunderstorms. There are roughly 100,000 thunderstorms every year in the United States, and 1 in 10 is considered severe. They cause flash floods, spark fires, and create hail, killing more people each year than do tornadoes, lightning, or hurricanes. Severe weather is growing more intense as well. Flash floods tear through dry waterbeds, city streets, and sewer drains at breakneck speed. But in developed urban areas, rain falls on impervious surfaces like sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways. Without land to absorb it, the water inundates roadways, culverts, and underpasses. Hail storms are expected to become more dangerous as the planet keeps overheating. Researchers predict climate change will mean fewer days of hail ahead, but an increase in the size of hailstones, making them more destructive and more lethal.
Stacker set out to find the places in the United States that have the most severe weather. Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Stacker sorted a decade of storm events large and small from 2010 to 2020, weighing all of them equally, and created a list of counties with the most severe weather in every state.
You think your weather is bad? Take a look at the worst weather in the country.
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