Chicago’s Cook County Tops 2024’s Most Vulnerable Counties for Tornado Damage

Tornado

With tornado season—March to June—fast approaching, home services website Roof Gnome has ranked 2024’s Most Vulnerable Counties for Tornado Damage.

The company compared nearly 950 U.S. counties with a relatively moderate to very high tornado risk according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). More specifically, researchers looked at tornado risk and expected annual loss from tornadoes. They also considered the average age of homes and whether states have adopted construction codes for tornado resilience, among five total metrics.

Cook County, Illinois—the county in which the city of Chicago resides—ranked first, followed by Harris County and Collin County, both in Texas. In fact, 17 Texas, 12 Illinois, nine Missouri, and seven Kansas counties finished among the 100 most vulnerable counties for tornado damage due to high tornado incidence and financial risk.

The report also noted that, since 1989, tornado frequency has been increasing in states farther north and east, with six Michigan and five Ohio counties landing among the top 100 counties.

With large populations and high-cost infrastructure, counties with major cities have the highest total expected annual loss from tornadoes. Seven Texas counties, including Harris (No. 2), as well as Dallas (No. 16) and Bexar (No. 23)—all within the Texas Triangle, including the bigger cities of Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio—finished among the 10 with the costliest expected annual loss from tornadoes.

Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois stand out as having high exacerbating factors. These states have many older homes and have not adopted current building standards from the International Residential Code and International Building Code. Building codes—like stronger roofs, safe rooms, and impact-resistant windows—help increase structural resilience against extreme weather events.

To learn more and see the complete list of counties, check out Roof Gnome’s website.

Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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