Severe Weather in 2017 Costs Americans $306 Billion

Severe Weather in 2017 Costs Americans $306 Billion

Hurricane Harvey, which pummeled the Gulf Coast with more than two feet of rain in late August, was the costliest disaster of the year, with more than $125 billion in damage.

The United States set a new record previous year for the total cost of weather and climate change-related disasters that exceeded $1 billion, driven largely by wildfires and hurricanes.

Including all weather-related losses, damage from last year's storms totaled $306 billion, a USA record.

16 of these disasters relate to damage exceeding $ 1 billion.

"During 2017, the U.S. experienced an historic year of weather and climate disasters", the weather agency said. Winter was the only season in the USA that didn't see a billion-dollar natural disaster.

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Hurricane Maria, which flattened much of Puerto Rico, cost $90 billion, while Hurricane Irma, which plowed into the Caribbean and Florida, cost $50 billion. Last year's final price tag also ties 2011 for the most billion-dollar weather events in a single year.

Additionally, the NOAA also reported that 2017 was the third warmest year on record. It shows that the continental USA had its third warmest year on record and, for the third consecutive year, every state across the contiguous U.S. and Alaska was warmer that average.

Five states ― Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and SC ― experienced their warmest year on record.

According to those figures, 2017 was the warmest year on record without the influence of the El Niño weather phenomenon. The rest of the costly disasters in 2017 are a mix of tornadoes, floods, and severe thunderstorms. Lest we forget the speed in which hurricanes like Maria and Irma intensified, and the record-breaking rainfall Harvey dumped on Texas - the latter of which is nearly certainly linked to a certain anthropogenic phenomenon.

Costs are adjusted for inflation but nonetheless, 2017 had three of the five most expensive hurricanes ever to hit the US.

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Deadly wildfires spread across nine western US states caused damage amounting to $18 billion. However, many scientists argue the burning of greenhouse gasses by humans has played a significant role in the increasing frequency and intensity of climate catastrophes.

Arndt said the US - which has had above normal annual temperatures for 21 straight years - is showing the same warming effects as the rest of the world.

"In the USA, we're seeing more severe droughts, wildfires, crop losses and more frequent coastal storms with deadly impacts", Martin added.

"We may see the same in Puerto Rico, given the level of destruction", Smith said. Only 2012 and 2016 were warmer.

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