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At 306 billion dollars, 2017 becomes costliest disaster year in US history

At 306 billion dollars, 2017 becomes costliest disaster year in US history

03:48 PM

At 306 billion dollars, 2017 becomes costliest disaster year in US history

Natural disasters were present in all forms in the United States during the year 2017. Right from the wildfires to several hurricanes, the nation has seen it all. Not only did these disasters cost several lives, but figuratively, 2017 was the costliest in US history in terms of natural disasters.

This figure has been calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The latter carries out evaluations of severe weather events which affect both the US and abroad, economically as well as socially.

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As per NCEI, between the years 1980 and 2017, 219 weather events occurred, whose combined cost has been estimated at $1.5 trillion. Per year, about six events occur if the average is calculated. However, the number has doubled in the last five years, i.e. between 2013 and 2017.

The United States witnessed 16 climatic and weather events in the year 2017, which in total cost around $306.2 billion. Each event cost at least a minimum of $1 billion. The bulk damage of about $265 billion came from hurricanes. This has been a new annual record which previously stood at $214.8 billion for the year 2005. It is during the year 2005 that Godzilla hurricanes including Katrina, Rita, Dennis, and Wilma had hit the United States.

The manifold increase in these disasters in terms of intensity as well as frequency is both worrisome and frightening. The question here arises whether these costly disasters will continue at the same pace or increase even further.

These events cannot be a mere coincidence. In fact, as per NOAA, the year 2017 was the third warmest ever recorded. Along with this, five of the states in US saw the warmest years on record. While there is no evidence which can directly blame global warming for these occurrences, proof exists that climate change increases the risks of flooding and wildfires.

Image Credit: pbs.org