2017 goes down as the Year of Extreme Weather in the United States.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday that extreme weather events cost a record $306 billion in 2017. That's the costliest year on record for the U.S.
The 16 separate billion-dollar weather disasters ties 2011 for the highest number since records began in 1980.
The nation has now been battered by 219 separate weather and climate disasters since 1980. Total economic losses exceed $1.5 trillion for those disasters.
Hurricanes: Three of the top five
The 2017 U.S. hurricane season was one of the most vicious on record; 2017 produced three of the five costliest hurricanes on record.
Wildfire costs: triple the previous record
The firestorms that raced through California torched thousands of homes. NOAA also reports the $18-billion cost of those blazes tripled the previous record.
U.S.: third warmest year on record
Overall 2017 was the third warmest year on record in the U.S.
Based on preliminary analysis, the average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 54.6°F, 2.6°F above the 20th century average. This was the third warmest year since record keeping began in 1895, behind 2012 (55.3°F) and 2016 (54.9°F), and the 21st consecutive warmer-than-average year for the U.S. (1997 through 2017). The five warmest years on record for the contiguous U.S. have all occurred since 2006.
Here's more from NOAA.
During the year, the U.S. experienced 16 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion, with total costs of approximately $306 billion – a new U.S. annual record. The previous costliest year for the U.S. was 2005 with losses of $215 billion driven in large part by Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita.
The number of events (16) ties 2011 for most billion-dollar disasters in a single year. Some of the more noteworthy events included the western wildfire season, with total costs of $18 billion, tripling the previous U.S. annual wildfire cost record. Hurricane Harvey had total costs of $125 billion, second only to Hurricane Katrina in the 38-year period of record for billion-dollar disasters.
Hurricanes Maria and Irma had total costs of $90 billion and $50 billion, respectively. Hurricane Maria now ranks as the third costliest weather and climate disaster on record for the nation and Irma ranks as the fifth costliest.
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