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  • Ryan Wittler

The U.S. May Experience a Record Number of Billion-dollar Weather Disasters

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

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So far this year, the U.S. has experienced 18 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion, according to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Some highlights:

This year’s billion-dollar disasters include the heat wave and drought throughout the West, the cold streak in Texas and Oklahoma that left millions without power, and 20 named storms throughout the Atlantic.

In all, with two months left in the year and winter weather on the horizon, 2021 is just four shy of the record 22 billion-dollar disasters the U.S. experienced in 2020.

Through September, this year’s disasters have already cost the U.S. $104.8 billion, surpassing the record set in 2020 ($100.2 billion). Disasters have also caused over twice as many deaths this year as all weather events in 2020 (538 vs. 262).

Some context:

From 1980 to 2020, NOAA data shows the U.S. experienced 290 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, averaging just 7.1 per year and costing $48.3 billion annually.

Including the 18 events so far this year, the U.S. has spent $2.085 trillion on weather and climate disasters since 1980, sustaining around a third of that total cost in the last five years.

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