2017 ‘costliest’ year for US with $306 billion losses due to weather, climate disasters

2017 ‘costliest’ year for US with $306 billion losses due to weather, climate disasters

Last year will be remembered as the “costliest” one for the US with losses from hurricanes, wildfires and extremely cold weather reaching a record $306 billion, according to a government report.

The US had 16 weather and climate disasters in 2017 each with losses exceeding $1 billion, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in the report on Monday.

That ties 2011 for the record number of billion-dollar disasters for an entire calendar year, but the total cost broke the previous record of $214.8 billion in 2005, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.

At least 362 people were killed and hundreds injured during the course of the disasters that comprised one drought, two floods, one freeze event, eight severe storms, three tropical cyclones and wildfires, it said.

The West Coast wildfires caused damages worth $18 billion dollars.

Losses from hurricane Harvey, which caused massive flooding in Texas, exceeded $125 billion, ranking second only to Hurricane Katrina, the costliest storm on record in the US.

Hurricanes Maria and Irma had total damages of $90 billion and $50 billion, respectively.

“Since 1980, the US has sustained 219 weather and climate disasters that have exceeded $1.5 trillion in overall damages to date,” the report said.

“The 1980-2017 annual average is 5.8 events; the annual average for the most recent five years (2013-2017) is 11.6 events.”

(Featured photo: The Tubbs Fire in Wine Country, shown October 17, was among the many disasters that made for a record-high year of damage in the US)
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