National News Desk

2020 had a record 22 billion-dollar weather disasters, according to NOAA

Wildfires Envelop San Francisco Bay Area In Dark Orange Haze
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(NEW YORK) — There were 22 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in 2020, according to a new analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. 

The total damages from the 22 disasters totaled approximately $95 billion and killed at least 262 people, according to NOAA.

Last year, there were a record number of hurricanes named in the Atlantic, with a record 12 making landfall in the Southeast. Seven of those cyclones caused damage exceeding one billion dollars, which NOAA says is a record since it started keeping track of billion-dollar damages in 1980. 

Hurricane Laura, which made landfall in Southeastern Louisana, was the most costly disaster in 2020, with damages estimated at $19 billion. It was also the most deadly with 42 deaths.  

In the western United States, we had the most active wildfire season on record. California had 5 of the six biggest fires in state history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Colorado saw the three largest fires in state history, according to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control. NOAA says the California, Oregon, and Washington firestorms in the fall caused at least $16.5 billion dollars in damage. 

One drought and heatwave in the Western and Central US throughout the summer and fall, caused damage exceeding one billion dollars. In August, Death Valley reported a temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest temperature measures globally in decades. 

Three tornado outbreaks and 10 severe weather events, including the Midwest derecho, also caused damages exceeding one billion dollars. The derecho became the third severe weather event since 1980 with inflation-adjusted costs over $10 billion. 

The most expensive tornado outbreak was on April 12 and 13. At least 140 tornadoes caused $3.6 billion dollars in damage from Texas to Maryland.

Since 1980, the United States has seen 285 weather and climate disasters with damage at least one billion dollars in damages. The total cost of these events exceeds 1.875 trillion, according to NOAA. 

The most expensive disaster was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which caused at least $170 billion in damage. 

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