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These States Receive the Most Disaster Aid Every Year

From floods to tornadoes to winter storms, some states have more than their fair share of natural disasters. So far in 2018, California has been hit with a series of wildfires and Hawaii experienced a volcanic eruption. And now, Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the Carolina coast this week, potentially causing “catastrophic flooding and rain,” reports the New York Times.

When hurricanes and other disasters strike close to home, they can wreak financial havoc and cause you to drain your emergency fund — or worse, your retirement savings. And, of course, these natural disasters often require government aid.

To pinpoint which states have had to deal with the costliest catastrophes, GOBankingRates examined the total federal disaster funding every state received over the past five fiscal years combined. The 35 states included in this list have all received at least $1 million in aid since 2013. The study also found the total number of major disasters declared in each state since 2007.

Click through to see the costliest natural disasters and which states required the most government aid.

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Maine

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $1 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 88

Maine has needed disaster aid to cope with severe storms, severe winter storms, snowstorms and flooding in recent years.

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Minnesota

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $1 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 294

Minnesota’s most common natural disasters are severe storms and flooding, both of which affected the state in 2013, 2014 and 2016 to an extent that they were deemed disasters by FEMA.

With a high frequency of natural disasters in the state, it’s no wonder Minnesota is one of the states with the least affordable home insurance.

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Nebraska

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $1 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 541

Nebraska is prone to severe storms, which have made up the majority of the natural disasters in the state over the past five years. In addition, there have been winter storms, tornadoes, flooding and straight-line winds hitting the state.

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Illinois

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $2 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 256

In 2013, Illinois was hit with severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and tornadoes. Fortunately, no FEMA-declared disasters have occurred in the state in more recent years.

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South Dakota

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $3 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 340

South Dakota has experienced some extreme weather over the past five years, including severe storms, tornadoes, flooding, winter storms, snowstorms and straight-line winds. And in 2017, the Legion Lake Fire destroyed 47,000 acres of land.

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District of Columbia

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $4 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 10

The biggest natural disaster to affect our nation’s capital in recent years was Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In the past five years, only a 2016 snowstorm was declared a disaster by FEMA.

 

Delaware

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $8 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 15

Delaware was hit by Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, but over the past five years the only storm to qualify as a natural disaster in the state was a severe winter storm and snowstorm that occurred in 2016.

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New Hampshire

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $13 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 115

Severe storms, tornadoes, flooding, severe winter storms, snowstorms and fires have all reached destructive enough levels over the past five years in New Hampshire to require federal disaster aid.

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Arkansas

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $14 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 529

The majority of Arkansas’ natural disasters — both historically and over the past five years — have been severe storms. Flooding is the second-most common natural disaster in the state.

Back in 2008, Arkansas experienced hurricane damages from Ike, which is one of the costliest hurricanes to ever hit the U.S.

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Kentucky

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $14 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 755

Severe storms, landslides, flooding and mudslides have made up the majority of natural disaster in Kentucky in recent years, but there were also two fires in 2016: the Eagles Nest Fire and the Southeastern Kentucky Fire Complex.

Because of its natural disasters, Kentucky is one of the least affordable states for home insurance.

Rhode Island

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $23 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 41

Severe winter storms and snowstorms have been the most common natural disasters in Rhode Island over the past five years, but historically the state has had more hurricanes than any other type of disaster.

These types of disasters could all lead to costly home repairs, which is why Rhode Island is one of the least affordable states for home insurance.

 

Ohio

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $24 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 233

Although Hurricane Sandy occurred in 2012, Ohio was still dealing with the effects of the deadly storm the following year. In 2013, the state was granted federal disaster aid to help with severe storms and flooding due to the hurricane.

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West Virginia

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $25 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 413

Disaster-level severe storms and flooding are fairly common in West Virginia, but in 2014 the state had to deal with a major chemical spill that left 300,000 people without access to safe tap water, The New York Times reported.

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Massachusetts

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $30 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 145

In 2013, the Boston Marathon Bombings were declared a natural disaster by FEMA. The terror attack killed three people and injured at least 264, CNN reported.

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Colorado

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $52 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 69

Eight separate fires have been declared natural disasters in Colorado over the last five years.

Colorado has a high incidence of natural disasters compared to other parts of the country, so it’s not surprising that it’s also one of the least affordable states for home insurance.

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Maryland

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $56 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 161

Two snowstorms, a severe storm with flooding and a severe winter storm have required federal aid in Maryland over the past five years. Overall, floods are the most common natural disaster in the state.

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Tennessee

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $66 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 303

Tennessee has been affected by several disasters over the past five years, including severe storms, winter storms and fires. In 2016, wildfires in East Tennessee killed 14 people, injured nearly 150 others and damaged or destroyed more than 2,400 properties, The Washington Post reported.

Its costly disasters could explain why Tennessee is another one of the least affordable states for home insurance.

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Virginia

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $75 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 472

Virginia was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The storm caused mass flooding and millions of dollars worth of damage. In the Virginia Beach area, 1,400 homes reported some type of storm damage, WAVY reported. The state received $4.6 million from FEMA to aid with the storm’s aftermath.

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Pennsylvania

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $127 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 274

Much of the aid Pennsylvania has received over the past five years has been for Hurricane Sandy. Sandy produced heavy rain and snowfall in Pennsylvania and created one of the largest power outages in the state’s history.

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Alabama

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $129 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 446

Severe storms, hurricanes and flooding are the most common disasters to hit Alabama. In 2017, the state was affected by Hurricanes Irma and Nate, which both caused power outages and flooding.

Previously, the state experienced significant damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, which is one of the costliest hurricanes to ever hit the U.S.

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Vermont

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $138 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 129

The type of disasters that typically strike Vermont are severe storms and floods, and the past five years have been no exception. The state has been hit with six severe storms from 2013 to 2018.

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Connecticut

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $142 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 82

The majority of Connecticut’s recent aid  — $139 million — has been for damage from two hurricanes: Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012. Connecticut has received $122 million in aid in the aftermath of Sandy, which caused storm surges and flooding on the state’s coast.

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Georgia

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $157 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 698

Much of the aid Georgia has received since 2013 has been for damage from 2016’s Hurricane Matthew and 2017’s Hurricane Irma, which left three dead and 1.5 million without power, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

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Iowa

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $160 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 454

Floods have been the most common type of disaster in Iowa over the years. In fact, the state has experienced 27 floods since 1953, according to FEMA.

The frequency of natural disasters in the state could explain why Iowa is one of the states with the least affordable homeowners insurance.

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North Dakota

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $175 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 308

Flooding in 2011 wreaked havoc in North Dakota and resulted in the $175 million in disaster aid the state has received over the past five years. About one-third of the homes in the town of Minot were damaged due to flooding.

North Dakota is one of the least affordable states for home insurance — but it’s probably worth it to buy it if you live there.

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Missouri

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $208 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 1,251

Almost all of the aid Missouri has received over the past five years has been to pay for tornado and storm damage. Severe storms and flooding have been the most common disasters in the state since 1953, according to FEMA.

Tornadoes can be especially damaging to homes, which is likely why Missouri is one of the least affordable states for home insurance.

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Mississippi

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $308 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 376

Mississippi has been hit by several disasters that have required federal disaster funding support — from tornadoes to flooding to hurricanes. The bulk of the aid — $262 million — has been for damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

It was also hit by Hurricane Rita in 2005, which is one the costliest hurricanes to ever hit the U.S.

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South Carolina

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $555 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 319

The state bore the brunt of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which was responsible for much of the aid it has received over the past five years. It was hit again in 2017 by Hurricane Irma, which led to severe flooding and power outages, CBS reported.

But South Carolina might experience another powerful hurricane in the next couple of days. USA Today reports Hurricane Florence is expected to bombard North Carolina and South Carolina with heavy rains and high winds. The Category 4 storm could be devastating. In fact, FEMA’s Jeff Byard reportedly said, “This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast.”

 

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North Carolina

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $716 million
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 307

Most of the aid North Carolina has received — $453 million — has been for Hurricane Matthew, which struck the state in 2016 and produced deadly floods. That same year, the state was affected by the Chestnut Knob Fire and the Party Rock Fire, each of which burned thousands of acres.

Referring to the looming Hurricane Florence, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, “Disaster is at the doorstep and is coming in,” reports NPR. “If you are on the coast, there is still time to get out safely.”

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California

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $1.7 billion
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 209

Wildfires have been rampant in California over the past five years, and the fires that occurred throughout Northern California in 2017 were especially destructive. The 2017 fires burned 1.2 million acres of land, destroyed more than 10,800 structures and killed at least 46 people, The Washington Post reported.

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Florida

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $2.61 billion
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 423

In 2016, Florida received $180 million in aid for damage done by Hurricane Matthew. It was also struck by Hurricane Hermine that same year, and Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Nate in 2017.

Because of the frequency of hurricanes and other natural disasters in Florida, it’s the state with the least affordable home insurance.

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New Jersey

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $3.57 billion
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 197

Of the aid New Jersey has gotten, $40 million has been for damage from Hurricane Irene — which caused flooding when it hit in 2011. Much of the rest was for Hurricane Sandy, which damaged or destroyed gas and power lines, roads and bridges, the state’s transit system and thousands of homes and businesses. The hurricane almost caused Atlantic City to go bankrupt.

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Texas

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $3.86 billion
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 1,256

Texas has been hit with dozens of disasters over the decades, from tornadoes to floods to fires. In 2017, the state received $2.44 billion in aid for Hurricane Harvey, which brought record-breaking rains to Texas and left an estimated 30,000 people without homes, according to CNN. Harvey is one of the costliest hurricanes to ever hit the U.S.

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Louisiana

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $5.57 billion
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 461

In 2017, Louisiana was hit by both Tropical Storm Harvey and Tropical Storm Nate. And over the past five years, Louisiana still has received funding — $4.19 billion — for the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Katrina is the costliest hurricane to ever hit the U.S., a separate GOBankingRates study found.

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New York

  • Federal disaster aid in the past five years: $16.06 billion
  • No. of declared disasters since 2007: 328

Funding for damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 accounts for the majority of aid New York has received. Overall, Sandy is one of the costliest hurricanes to ever hit the U.S. A big reason the damage was so extensive was that the storm wreaked havoc on New York City.

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More States With the Most Federal Disaster Aid

The top 10 states that received the most federal aid for natural disasters are — unsurprisingly — mostly located in the South and on the East Coast. However, California broke into the top 10 because of its devastating wildfires.

Here’s a look at the top 10 states that received the most federal disaster funding over the past five years:

  1. New York: $16.06 billion
  2. Louisiana: $5.57 billion
  3. Texas: $3.86 billion
  4. New Jersey: $3.57 billion
  5. Florida: $2.61 billion
  6. California: $1.7 billion
  7. North Carolina: $716 million
  8. South Carolina: $555 million
  9. Mississippi: $308 million
  10. Missouri: $208 million

Click through to read more about ways to prep your home for a natural disaster.

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Methodology: To pinpoint which states have had to deal with the costliest catastrophes, GOBankingRates examined the total federal disaster funding every state received over the past five fiscal years combined. The 35 states included in this list have all received at least $1 million in aid since 2013. We also found the total number of major disasters declared in each state since 1953, when modern record-keeping began.