Iowa has the 13th highest natural disaster risk in the nation, according to a new MoneyGeek report released this week.
MoneyGeek analyzed Federal Emergency Management Agency data in compiling the report. It assessed expected financial losses in total and per capita as well as which hazards pose the greatest potential to cause the most harm.
The greatest hazard Iowa could face is drought, the report said. Minnesota is the only other state that has drought as its most formidable foe among natural disasters. The Hawkeye State’s annual expected losses from drought are $623 million, or $205 per capita. Twenty-six percent of Iowa’s annual expected losses are associated with injury and loss of life, with a FEMA-determined value of statistical life of $7.4 million, while building damage and destruction account for 35% and agricultural production losses make up 39%.
Minnesota’s expected annual losses from drought are $508 million ($95.84 per capita). These losses are 44% from building damage and destruction, 25% from injury and loss of life, and 31% from agricultural production losses.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the longest drought in Iowa (D1 (“Moderate Drought”) to D4 (“Exceptional Drought”)) lasted from August 9, 2011, to June 24, 2014, and the most intense period of drought occurred the week of Sept. 25, 2012. In that drought, D4 affected 2.52% of Iowa land.
Iowa’s 2021 summer drought conditions improved in November and October, the Iowa DNR said in a news release Dec. 9. The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s list of resources for dealing with drought conditions is accessible here.
Strong winds, which cause about 4% of U.S.’s expected losses, cause the greatest risk per capita in Iowa and the greatest risk overall to Minnesota.
California tops the list of states with the largest annual natural disaster risk. Annual expected losses amount to $6.8 billion, which is $183 per capita. Texas and Florida, whose most significant natural disaster risk is hurricanes, had the second and third-highest risks, but South Dakota has the highest per capita risk ($271 per person). Rhode Island, the smallest state in the United States, has the lowest risk per capita, $15. While earthquakes occur less often than tornadoes and hurricanes, they have the highest natural disaster risk each year in the nation because they can cause significantly more damage.