2020 Set US Report For Billion-Greenback Pure Disasters
According to a new analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released on Friday, 2020 saw 22 major natural disasters in the United States, each of which caused at least $ 1 billion in damage.
The total cost of these major hurricanes, forest fires, and major storms was $ 95 billion. This makes 2020 the country’s fourth costliest year for disasters.
“We sound like a broken record saying that every year is a historic year, but it’s true,” Adam Smith, an applied climatologist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information who worked on the analysis, told BuzzFeed News. “We no longer have any adjectives to describe these extreme events.”
The rising costs are partly due to people continuing to move and build in places where their homes and businesses can be damaged by fire, storms, and floods. But man-made climate change is also to blame and leads to an increasing number of extreme disasters. Wildfire seasons are getting longer. Hurricanes are getting wetter. And heavier rains in the U.S. trigger more inland flooding.
And in the latest sign of the worsening climate crisis, new data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service shows that 2020 2016 will be the hottest year in the world. US scientists will publish their own analysis of last year’s temperatures next week.
“Over time, climate change fingerprints are becoming more and more apparent for some of these extreme events,” said Smith.
The costliest disaster of 2020 was Hurricane Laura, which hit the Louisiana coast as a Category 4 storm causing $ 19 billion in damage, one of seven tropical cyclones that cost the US over $ 1 billion . Laura also killed 42 people, making it the deadliest storm of the year.
Although 2020 was the busiest hurricane season ever recorded in the Atlantic, the U.S. was spared even greater storm-related damage with no major storm hitting a major city, Smith said.
Historically, hurricanes have been some of the costliest disasters in the United States. 2017 previously shared the record for the highest number of costly disasters – 16 of them – partly due to its active hurricane season, and it still maintains the record for the most costly year causing $ 306 in damage, mostly on Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, are due. and Maria.
Last year was also a disastrous year for forest fires. Fires in the western states of California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington resulted in $ 16.5 billion in total damage, burning more than 10.2 million acres and causing 46 deaths, according to NOAA. The forest fires also released large amounts of air pollution, which are linked to health risks, such as asthma and heart attacks, and have public health costs that were not included in NOAA’s analysis.
Another costly disaster starting in 2020 was the Derecho Storm, which traveled to Ohio from southeast South Dakota, destroying homes and buildings, cutting off electricity for more than 1 million people, and causing a total of $ 11 billion in damage.