Though we're only halfway through 2011, natural disasters have already cost the U.S. $32 billion, and that number will continue to climb. Over the weekend, the Suris River crested in Minot, North Dakota, leaving 4,000 homes underwater. Fewer than 400 residents of the city—the state's fourth largest—have flood insurance. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the U.S., and one of the fastest growing economies.
The Souris River, which loops from Saskatchewan, Canada to North Dakota, has risen to record high levels and is spilling into the North Dakota city of Minot, causing more than 11,000 residents from there to evacuate for the second time this month. The flooding is said to have been caused by a heavy spring snow melt and heavy rains. The last major flood in the area occurred in 1969, which prompted the construction of levees. But this flood is five feet taller than the 1969 flood, and the levees are unable to contain it.