An Associated Press report published on January 8 in USA Today said that a trio of monster hurricanes and a ferocious wildfire season led to the costliest year for natural disasters on record in the U.S.in 2017, with almost a third of a trillion dollars in damage, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday, January9.
Below are the disasters with the unfortunate distinction of causing at least $1 billion in damage, according to the NOAA report. These events included 1 drought event, 2 flooding events, 1 freeze event, 8 severe storm events, 3 tropical cyclone events, and 1 wildfire event.
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NOAA explains that the cumulative costs of all natural disasters in 2017 - including these three hurricanes - was $306.2 billion.
Hurricane Maria that made landfall in September cost USA $90 billion, becoming the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history.
With 16 disasters causing over $1 billion in damage, 2017 ties 2011 for the largest total number of such events.
The higher average US temperature also marked the 21st consecutive year that the annual average exceeded the average.
"We can expect extreme weather events and economic losses and costs associated with them to continue increasing unless we make dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions". Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma propelled 2017 to become the costliest hurricane season on record at $265 billion, and California's awful wildfires also led to it also being the costliest wildfire year at $18 billion.
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Rescue workers transport a family through rising flood waters in the Cypress Station neighborhood during Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, on August 28, 2017.
2017 surpassed the previous cost record, which was set in 2005 when a series of hurricanes (including Katrina) caused $214 billion in damage. The hurricane left more than 1,800 people dead. Other large costs came from tornadoes, droughts, severe weather events, flooding and other causes.
NOAA experts demurred on this question on a media call, declining to apportion how much of the damage could be attributed to a changing climate as opposed to other factors. Annual temperatures in another 32 states, including Alaska, ranked among the 10 warmest years on record.
Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana was the worst of the storms, going down as the second most destructive US event since 1980. The hottest year was 2012, followed by 2016.
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