Tupelo • Mississippi was ranked 50 in emergency preparedness, according to a report from WalletHub, a financial advising website.

While the category is titled emergency preparedness, it does not look at factors such as the number of safety shelters provided, the number of emergency management agencies within a state or state and local government response time and measures following a natural disaster.

The rank was determined by two factors: the number of climate disasters causing over one billion dollars in damages and the loss amount from climate disasters causing over billion dollars in damage per capita.

Data was pulled from the National Centers for Environmental Information, which is under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The centers look at data from 1980 to 2018. The U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather & Climate Disasters 1980-2019 report from the administration states:

“The U.S. has sustained 246 weather and climate disasters since 1980 in which overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion.”

The report provides total estimated costs for all states involved, not just Mississippi, and includes a separate value for the 2019 Consumer Price Index. For Mississippi, key years include 2011, 1998, 1983, 1994 and 2005.

In 2011, four natural disasters impacted Mississippi. From April to May that year, the Mississippi River flooding caused $800 million, CPI value $920 million, in agriculture damages in Mississippi. Overall costs of damages to Mississippi and neighboring states included $3 billion. There were two tornadoes in April that caused over $12.3 billion in damages, with a CPI value of $14.2 billion to Mississippi and surrounding southern and central states. The last major disaster that year was Tropical Storm Lee, which caused wind and flood damage in Mississippi.

Hurricanes caused most of the Mississippi damage costs in 2005. Hurricane Katrina caused over $40 billion in damages in Mississippi, according to NOAA data, and over $125 billion in total costs to affected states. By comparison, Hurricane Rita, which occurred after in September, caused inland flooding in Mississippi and cost over $18 billion for impacted states.

In 1998, Mississippi was part of four major natural disasters resulted in a total damages cost of over $12 billion for all impacted areas. The earlier years of 1994 and 1983 would have Mississippi, along with other southern states, experience a total loss of $3 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively.

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