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Year of Misfortune: Top 12 Billion-Dollar U.S. Disasters

By Tom Randall - 2011-12-21T20:11:59Z

Photograph by Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images

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9 of 14

#5 Mississippi Floods

More than 55 percent of the U.S. experienced either severe drought or extreme precipitation this year, the highest proportion on record, according to the National Climate Data Center. The average is 20 percent.

The Ohio River Basin received almost three times its normal rainfall. That water, combined with melting snowpack, flowed into the Mississippi, where it inundated 6.8 million acres of farmland between Missouri and Louisiana. Economic losses ranged from $3 billion to $4 billion. At least two people died.

Friends take a break from building a sandbag wall against rising floodwaters in Olive Branch, Illinois.

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