The United States sets a record for billions of dollars in weather disasters in a year News, sports, jobs
Written by Seth Bornstein
AP Science Writer
A deadly firestorm in Hawaii and a storm surge caused by Hurricane Idalia helped push the United States to an annual record for the number of climate disasters costing at least $1 billion. We still have four months to continue what looks like a calendar of disasters. There have been 23 extreme weather events in America that have cost at least $1 billion this year through August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday. This breaks the annual record of 22 set in 2020. Disasters this year so far have cost more than $57.6 billion and claimed at least 253 lives.
A deadly firestorm in Hawaii and storm surge from Hurricane Idalia helped push the United States into a record number of climate disasters costing $1 billion or more. We still have four months to continue what looks like a calendar of disasters.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that there have been 23 extreme weather events in America that have cost at least $1 billion this year through August, surpassing the all-year record total of 22 events set in 2020. So far, this year’s disasters have cost More than $57.6 billion and claimed the lives of at least 253 people.
Adam Smith, an applied climate scientist and economist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who tracks billion-dollar losses, said NOAA’s tally does not yet include damage caused by Tropical Storm Hillary, which hit California, and the deep drought that hit the South and Midwest. Because these costs still add up. Disasters.
“We are seeing the fingerprints of climate change all over our country,” Smith said in an interview Monday. “I don’t expect things to slow down anytime soon.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been tracking billion-dollar weather disasters in the United States since 1980 and adjusts damage costs for inflation. Smith said what is happening reflects an increase in the number of disasters and more areas are being built in locations exposed to risks.
“Exposure plus vulnerability plus climate change is driving more of these disasters into multibillion-dollar disasters,” Smith said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has added eight new billion-dollar disasters to the list since it was last updated a month ago. In addition to Hurricane Idalia and the Hawaiian Firestorm that killed at least 115 people, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently listed a hailstorm in Minnesota on August 11; severe storms in the northeast in early August; severe storms in Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin in late July; In mid-July, hail and severe storms struck Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia; deadly floods in the Northeast and Pennsylvania in the second week of July; and an outbreak of severe storms in late June in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.
“This year there’s been a lot of action in the central states and the north-central states, the south-central states and the southeast states,” Smith said.
Experts say that the United States must do more to adapt to the increasing disasters because they will get worse.
“The climate has already changed and neither the built environment nor response systems can keep up with the change,” said Craig Fugate, former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who was not part of the NOAA report.
The increase in weather disasters is consistent with what climate scientists have long been saying, along with a possible increase from the natural El Niño phenomenon, said Katherine Jacobs, a climate scientist at the University of Arizona.
“Adding more energy to the atmosphere and oceans will increase the intensity and frequency of extreme events,” said Jacobs, who was not involved in the NOAA report. “Many of this year’s events are highly unusual and in some cases unprecedented.”
Smith said he believes the 2020 record will stand for a long time because the $20 billion disasters that year broke the old record of 16.
But that did not happen, and now it is no longer believed that the new records will last for long.
Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field described the trend toward multibillion-dollar disasters as “deeply alarming.”
“But there are things we can do to reverse this trend,” Field said. “If we want to limit the damage caused by extreme weather, we need to accelerate progress in halting climate change and building resilience.”