Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Climate disasters set new record at $306bn in 2017

Climate disasters set new record at $306bn in 2017

Hurricanes, western wildfires and mass flooding made 2017 the costliest year on record for disaster recovery in the USA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Monday.

A trio of monster hurricanes and a ferocious wildfire season led to the costliest year for natural disasters on record in the 2017, with almost a third of a trillion dollars in damage, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday.

The government agency recorded 16 weather-related events that cost over $1 billion each in 2017, tying a record set in 2011 after the NOAA began record-keeping in 1980. "Each of these destructive hurricanes now joins Katrina and Sandy, in the new top 5 costliest US hurricanes on record".

The only category that did not see a $1 billion disaster a year ago was a winter storm.

At least 362 people died during the climate calamities that included three major hurricanes: Harvey, Maria, and Irma, NOAA said. Harvey ranks second only to Hurricane Katrina, which at $160bn is the costliest storm in the 38 years that records have been kept.

Hurricanes Maria and Irma totaled $90 billion and $50 billion in damages, respectively.

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Smith attributed the new cost record to increasing wealth and population, as well as effects of climate change like drought and flooding. Extreme rainfall up to 37 inches caused widespread flooding and mudslides across the island.

The bill is in for America's 2017 of wild weather and the sums are astronomical, with damage from weather and climate disasters estimated at 16 billion dollars.

The announcement came at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Austin, Texas.

NOAA also announced Monday that 2017 was the third-warmest year on record within the United States, at 2.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average. Warmer temperatures were only recorded in 2016 and 2012.

The nation's $1 billion disasters previous year were: three hurricanes, eight severe storms, two inland floods, a crop freeze, a drought and a wildfire.

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