U.S. Weather and Climate Disaster Costs Top $300 Billion in 2017

By: Bill Lucia, Route 50

Published: January 8, 2018

The cost of major U.S. disasters last year involving weather and climate cleared $300 billion, far surpassing a previous high mark, according to a report the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released Monday.

NOAA said the nation experienced 16 weather and climate disasters in 2017 with losses of $1 billion or more. Among the individual events were severe storms, floods, crop freezes, drought and wildfires.

Costs from these events totaled an estimated $306 billion.

Major contributors to the total include an over $125 billion price tag from Hurricane Harvey, which caused catastrophic flooding in and around Houston, and western wildfire costs of nearly $18 billion.

Since 1980, the U.S. has seen 219 weather and climate disasters with damage costs of $1 billion or more—after factoring in inflation.

The previous overall record for annual costs from these events was an inflation-adjusted $215 billion in 2005, the year that Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma all struck the U.S.

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