2022 was the eighth consecutive yr through which 10 or extra separate billion-dollar disasters have hit the US, up from a median of seven.9 such occasions between 1980 and 2022, says a authorities report.
Main hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, drought and a fierce winter storm precipitated greater than $165 billion in harm in america final yr with local weather disaster “supercharging” some excessive climate, a US authorities report has mentioned.
The nation skilled 18 separate billion-dollar climate and local weather disasters in 2022, the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mentioned Tuesday, with Hurricane Ian the costliest at almost $123 billion.
NOAA’s Nationwide Facilities for Environmental Data (NCEI) mentioned in a year-end report that 2022 tied 2017 and 2011 for essentially the most billion-dollar disasters in a calendar yr, behind the 22 and 20 separate billion-dollar occasions of 2020 and 2021.
The growing variety of excessive occasions “hints that the extraordinarily excessive exercise of latest years is turning into the brand new regular,” the NCEI mentioned.
With a significant disasters price ticket of greater than $165 billion, 2022 ranked third in whole prices behind 2017 (hurricanes Harvey and Irma) and 2005 (hurricane Katrina), the NCEI mentioned, and the determine may rise when the affect of a winter storm that hit the central and japanese US in December is totally factored in.
The report famous that the figures don’t mirror the whole value of final yr’s US climate and local weather occasions, solely these related to main disasters that every precipitated greater than $1 billion in damages.
The billion-dollar occasions accounted for about 85 p.c of the whole harm from all recorded US climate and local weather occasions in 2022, it mentioned.
Growing local weather disasters
Hurricane Ian, which ravaged Florida in September, was far and away the costliest, inflicting $122.9 billion in harm and 152 deaths.
A summer time warmth wave and drought which gripped giant components of the central and western US was subsequent, inflicting $22.2 billion in harm, 136 deaths and leaving reservoirs similar to Lake Mead severely depleted.
Different climate and local weather disasters included wildfires within the western US and Alaska, flooding in Missouri and Kentucky, tornadoes throughout the southern and southeastern US and the December winter storm.
The 18 billion-dollar occasions resulted in at the least 474 direct or oblique fatalities, the seventh most since 1980.
The quantity and price of climate and local weather disasters was growing, the NCEI mentioned, as a consequence of quite a few components together with elevated settlement in susceptible areas like coasts and river floodplains.
That is characterised by rising vulnerability to drought, lengthening wildfire seasons, flooding attributable to heavy rainfall and hurricane storm surge worsened by sea stage rise.
The NCEI mentioned Class 4 or 5 hurricanes have made landfall in america in 5 of the final six years, essentially the most frequent impacts on report.
It mentioned 2022 was the eighth consecutive yr through which 10 or extra separate billion-dollar catastrophe occasions have hit america, up from a median of seven.9 occasions between 1980 and 2022.