US experiences record breaking natural disasters in 2021

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A car flooded on a local street as a result of the remnants of Hurricane Ida is seen in Somerville, N.J. Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

(WSYR)- The United States will likely hit a record-breaking number of billion-dollar natural disasters this year, NOAA data shows.

As of early October 2021, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information states that the U.S. has experienced 18 weather/climate disasters each with losses each exceeding $1 billion — a record high. The average number of billion-dollar disasters per year is seven.

The disasters this year include the ongoing Western drought, the western wildfires, severe weather and flooding in California early in January, severe weather in the central U.S. over the summer and four tropical cyclones.

The cost of damage to property and infrastructure from these events, and others during the first nine months of the year, have totaled to more than $104 billion, which is already $4 billion more than all of 2020. Last year, was record breaking with a total of 22 events weather/climate disasters. The previous record number of billion-dollar disasters was 16.

Since 1980, the country has experienced 308 weather and climate disasters that reached or exceeded $1 billion in damages and costs. In total, the events cost more than $2 trillion. According to NOAA, the total costs for the last five years alone make up for nearly one third of the 42-year period. 

The frequency of extreme weather events is due to climate change, increase exposure and vulnerability.  

Severe storms, like thunderstorms and tornadoes are what the country experiences most but the events responsible for the highest total costs and deaths are by far tropical cyclones.

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