22 major natural disasters struck the United States in 2020, each causing at least $ 1 billion in damage, according to the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Analytics Posted on Friday.
The total cost of these major hurricanes, wildfires and intense storms totaled $ 95 billion in damage, making 2020 the nation’s fourth most expensive year for disasters.
“We kind of look like a broken record saying that every year is a historical year, but it’s true,” Adam Smith, an applied climate scientist at the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who worked on the analysis, told BuzzFeed News. The qualities that attempt to describe these extreme events. “
The costs are in part because people continue to move and build in places that put their homes and businesses at risk of damage from fires, storms and floods. But man-made climate change is also the cause, increasing the number of severe disasters. Wildfire seasons are lengthening. Hurricanes are getting wetter. And the More heavy rain Across the US it causes more internal flooding.
And in the latest sign of the worsening climate crisis, new data are emerging from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service 2020 equates to 2016 as the hottest year on record all over the world. American scientists will release their own temperature analyzes next year.
“As we progress in time, the fingerprints of climate change have become more apparent for some of these extreme events,” Smith said.
The most expensive disaster of 2020 was Hurricane Laura, which struck the Louisiana coast as a Category 4 storm and caused $ 19 billion in damage, one of seven tropical hurricanes that cost the United States more than $ 1 billion. Laura also claimed 42 lives, making it the deadliest storm the country has seen this year.
In spite of 2020 was the busiest hurricane season ever recorded in the AtlanticThe United States has escaped what would have been the greatest storm-related damage because no major storm has ever hit a large city, Smith said.
Hurricanes have historically been some of the costliest disasters in the United States. 2017 previously shared the record for the most costly disasters – 16 of them – due in part to an active hurricane season, and It still claims the record for the most expensive year, Resulting in $ 306 in damage largely caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
The past year has also been a disastrous year for wildfires. The fires in western states like California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington resulted in a combined damage of $ 16.5 billion, burning more than 10.2 million acres and causing 46 deaths, according to NOAA, wildfires also released massive amounts of air pollution associated with Health risks such as asthma and heart attacks, Which leads to public health costs not factored into the NOAA analysis.
Another very expensive disaster of 2020 was the Derecho Windstorm that moved from southeastern South Dakota to Ohio, destroying homes and buildings, Cut off power To more than a million people, and caused $ 11 billion in total damage.