2020 ties record on billion-dollar natural disasters, NOAA says

By Simone Jasper, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Weather News

With months left in 2020, the United States has already tied a record for the most billion-dollar natural disasters.

So far, the country has had more than a dozen climate and weather catastrophes that cost at least $1 billion in damages, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"The first 9 months of 2020 ties the annual record of 16 events that occurred in 2011 and 2017," NOAA said as of Wednesday.

On average, there were about six billion-dollar natural disasters each year from 1980 to 2019, according to figures that are adjusted for inflation. In the past five years, the annual average was roughly 13 disasters.

Hurricanes, wildfires, drought, tornadoes, hail storms and other costly weather events have ravaged parts of the country in 2020. The catastrophes come in a year that has also seen financial hardship from the coronavirus pandemic.


To come up with its findings, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information says it examined data from state and federal governments, forecasters, media outlets, and the insurance industry.

"These statistics were taken from a wide variety of sources and represent, to the best of our ability, the estimated total costs of these events - that is, the costs in terms of dollars that would not have been incurred had the event not taken place," weather officials said.

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