Extreme Weather Cost 247 Lives in 2018
A report issued Feb. 6 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that during 2018, 14 separate weather and climate disasters costing at least $1 billion each hit the United States. These billion-dollar disasters killed at least 247 people and cost the nation an estimated $91 billion. About $73 billion was attributed to hurricanes Michael and Florence and numerous wildfires across the West. However, the record for natural disasters was set in 2017, when hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria combined with Western wildfires and other natural catastrophes caused $306 billion in total damage.
NOAA data show that since 1980, the United States has experienced 241 weather and climate disasters where the overall damage reached or exceeded $1 billion, when adjusted for inflation. Between 1980 and 2013, the nation saw about six such disasters per year, but that number has surged to more than 12 over the most recent five years. Meanwhile, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and NOAA released data that officially made 2018 the fourth-warmest year since 1880.