Worst Weather of the Twentieth Century

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Climatologists, meteorologists, and hydrologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) compiled a list of the world's most notable weather, water, and climate events in the twentieth century. Criteria for selection included an event's magnitude, meteorological uniqueness, as well as its economic impact and death toll. Events are listed in chronological order.

United States

1900Galveston Hurricane
1925Tri-state Tornado
1928 Great Okeechobee Hurricane and Flood
1930sDust Bowl
1935Florida Keys Hurricane
1938New England Hurricane
1950“Storm of the Century”
1969Hurricane Camille
1974Super Tornado Outbreak
1978New England Blizzard
1982–83 &  1997–98El Niño Episodes
1992Hurricane Andrew
1993Great Midwest Flood
1999Okla./Kan. Tornado Outbreak
Source: consensus of climate and weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For background on individual events, see www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories/s334c.htm .


1910–1914, 1940–44, 1970–85Sahel Drought, Africa
India: 1900, 1907, 1965–67; China: 1907, 1928–30, 1936, 1941–42; Soviet Union: 1921–22Asian Droughts
1912, 1922China Typhoons
1931Yangtze River Flood, China
1952Great Smog of London
1953Europe Storm Surge
1954Great Iran Flood
1958Typhoon Vera, Japan
1970Bangladesh Cyclone
1971North Vietnam Flood
1972Iran Blizzard
1982–83El Niño
1991Typhoon Thelma, Philippines
1991Bangladesh Cyclone
1998Hurricane Mitch, Honduras and Nicaragua
Sources +