US hit with 15 billion-dollar disasters this year

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Hurricane Ian, which has just devastated Florida and Puerto Rico, was the 15th billion-dollar weather and climate disaster to hit the US this year so far, Axios reports. Early estimates of damage from Hurricane Ian show insured losses of $53 billion to $74 billion.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reported that, from January through the end of September, the US experienced 10 major storms, two tropical cyclones, one flooding event, one combined drought and heat wave, and one regional wildfire event – each of which incurred costs surpassing $1 billion.

“Total losses due to property and infrastructure damage is up to $29.3 billion in 2022 so far — but this does not yet include the costs for Hurricane Ian, the western wildfires, and Hurricane Fiona, which may push the 2022 total closer to $100 billion — a total reached in four of the last five years,” NOAA said in its report. This year’s disasters have also resulted in 340 deaths as of 11 October, and that figure may rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Climate Central, a research and communications nonprofit organization, has stated that billion-dollar weather disasters in the US are now occurring every 18 days, Axios reports. This compares to such disasters occurring every 82 days in the 1980s.

Axios notes that an increase in the costs incurred by the disasters is related to population growth in areas such as the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast. “This gives storms, many of which are worsened by climate change, a bigger bullseye to target,” Axios said.

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