Most expensive year on record for US natural disasters

Most expensive year on record for US natural disasters

The US experienced a record year of losses from fires, hurricanes and other weather related disasters in 2017, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). Total losses amounted to $306bn the agency said, over $90bn more than the previous record set in 2005. Last year saw 16 separate events with losses exceeding $1bn, including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Noaa confirmed that 2017 was the third warmest year on record for the US. Last year witnessed two Category 4 hurricanes make landfall in the States. Hurricane Harvey produced major flooding as a result of a storm surge and extreme rain. Nearly 800,000 people needed help. Researchers have already shown that climate change increased the likelihood of the observed rainfall by a factor of at least 3.5.

Noaa says the total costs of the Harvey event were $125bn, which is second only to Hurricane Katrina in terms of costs over the 38 years the record has been maintained.

Hurricane Irma was a Category 5 storm for the longest period on record. Rain gauges in Neederland, Texas, recorded 1,539mm, the largest ever recorded for a single event in the mainland US. Hurricanes Irma and Maria cost $50bn and $90bn respectively.

As well as hurricanes, there were devastating fires in western states, particularly in California. While last winter and spring saw heavy rains in the region that alleviated a long-term drought, the resulting boom in vegetation created abundant wildfire fuel. Fires in both the north and south of California meant hundreds of thousands of residents had to be evacuated from their homes.

The report from Noaa says that across the US, the overall cost of these fires was $18bn, tripling the previous wildfire cost record.

Noaa confirmed that in overall temperature terms, it was the third warmest year in the US since records began in 1895, behind 2012 and 2016.

“In the general picture the warming [of the] US over the long term is related to the larger scale warming we have seen on the global scale,” said Deke Arndt, chief of Noaa’s monitoring section.

Source: BBC

Date: January 2017

Read the article



Related Articles

10 companies take legal action over EUR 100 billion Hinkley nuclear subsidies

An alliance, including Greenpeace, is appealing the European Commission’s decision to approve subsidies for the British nuclear power plant, Hinkley

Which countries are causing global warming and which are most vulnerable to the effects

The effects of climate change are pretty hard to miss no matter where you live, but some countries are going

In one paragraph, investment managers demonstrate the futility of Gop climate denial

BlackRock is the world’s largest investment firm, with some $4.5 trillion in assets under management. Needless to say, those trillions