Year of disaster
2017 broke the record for costly weather and climate events in America
Since 1980, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has kept track of the economic impact of extreme climate events in the country, and in that time there have been 219 disasters in the United States that have reached $1 billion or more in damages/costs. According to the NOAA’s most recent update, 2017 was the most expensive year yet, with the cumulative cost of the 16 events that met the billion-dollar threshold—eight severe storms, three tropical cyclones (hurricanes), two floods, one freeze, one drought, one wildfire (all Western fires were lumped into one event)—totaling $306.2 billion. The average number of billion-dollar disasters per year in the U.S. between 1980 and 2017 was 5.8, but since 2013, the average reached 11.6 events per year.