After two years of frequent and costly weather disasters, the United States might make it to the end of this year with significantly fewer costly storms.
To find every billion-dollar weather disaster in the U.S. after 2020, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters report. All data is from the NOAA.
In 2021, 20 weather disasters inflicted at least a billion dollars worth of damage each, led by Hurricane Ida in late August and early September, which cost at least $75 billion in damages – it was the first time New York and New Jersey declared a flash flood emergency.
Last year was the second worst on record in terms of the number of weather disasters, and the third worst year behind 2017 and 2005 in terms of the total costs of these events, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In the first half of this year, there have been seven weather disasters costing at least a billion dollars each, half the number that occurred in the same period of 2021. The cost of weather disasters has been much smaller, too, with just $10 billion in total damages. The death toll was lower as well, with seven deaths attributed to the weather events in the first half of the year. (These are countries where the most people have died in natural disasters.)
So far in 2022, an outbreak of severe weather in the south inflicted $2.2 billion in damages in April and has been the costliest so far this year. In 2021, there were six high-cost weather disasters in the last five months of the year, including two hurricanes and two separate tornado outbreaks in December that killed at least 94 people and left a combined $5.7 billion in damages.
Severe weather in 2021 inflicted at least $145 billion in damages and killed at least 688 people in the U.S. The costliest weather disasters of 2021 include Hurricane Ida, an enormous winter storm that cut power to millions of people in Texas and caused $24 billion in damages across several states, and summertime western wildfires that cost nearly $11 billion.
The U.S. might be catching a break in billion-dollar plus weather disasters this year compared to recent peak years, but the long-term projections suggest these billion-dollar disasters will become more frequent. (These are cities at the greatest risk of hurricane disaster this year.)