2017 set record for U.S. natural disaster costs — over $300B

Rescue workers transport a family through rising flood waters in the Cypress Station neighborhood during Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, on August 28, 2017. File Photo by Jerome Hicks/UPI

Jan. 9 (UPI) — Extreme weather events inflicted a record-setting toll on the United States in 2017, with hurricanes and wildfires causing a total of $306 billion in damage, officials said Monday.

In a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States has experienced 219 weather disasters since 1980 — costing a total of $1.5 trillion including Hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma.

In 2017 alone, there were 16 weather and climate disasters nationwide, with losses exceeding $1 billion each — and totaling more than $300 billion in damages.

Events adding to the total include one drought, two floods, one freeze, eight severe storms, three tropical cyclones, and one wildfire, the NOAA said.

Plagued by a chaotic hurricane season, losses from Hurricane Harvey exceeded $125 billion, which ranked second only to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hurricanes Maria and Irma caused damage amounting to $90 billion and $50 billion, respectively.

Across the United States, 362 people were killed in extreme weather disasters last year, the report said.

The NOAA also noted that last year was also the third warmest year in 123 years of record-keeping, and was the 21st consecutive year that the annual average temperature exceeded the average.

The World Meteorological Organization said in November that the year would likely be one of the “top three hottest years on record.”

“The past three years have all been in the top three years in terms of temperature records,” Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the WMO, said. “This is part of a long-term warming trend.”


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