Record 22 major natural disasters hit the US in 2020, each causing at least $ 1 billion in damage, according to the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. analysis published on Friday.
The total cost of these major hurricanes, wildfires and severe hurricanes is $ 95 billion in damages, making 2020 the nation’s fourth most costly disaster year.
Adam Smith, an applied climatologist at NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information who did the analysis, told BuzzFeed News: “We sound like a broken record when we say each The year is a historical year, but it’s true. “We’re running out of adjectives trying to describe these extreme events.”
The increased cost is partly due to the fact that people continue to move to 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 responsible for an increasing number of extreme disasters. Forest fire season is getting longer and longer. The storm is getting wetter. And rainfall is greater Across America is causing more inland flooding.
And in the latest signs of the worsening climate crisis, new data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service shows 2020 is tied with 2016 as the hottest year on record all around the world. American scientists will release their own analysis of last year’s temperature next week.
“As we move forward, climate change traces are becoming more and more clear to some of these extreme events,” Smith said.
The most costly disaster in 2020 was Hurricane Laura, which hit the Louisiana coast like a Category 4 hurricane and caused $ 19 billion in damage, one of seven tropical storms that cost the US up to $ 1 billion. la. Laura also took the lives of 42 people, making it the nation’s deadliest storm of the year.
In spite of The year 2020 is the busiest storm season ever recorded in the AtlanticThe United States did not allow any greater storm-related damage because no major storms hit a major city, Smith said.
Typhoons have been by far one of the most costly catastrophes in America. The year 2017 previously shared the record for the most costly natural disasters – 16 of them – partly due to the active hurricane season, and it still claims the record for the most expensive year, causing damages up to $ 306 in large part due to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Last year was also a dire year due to wildfires. Fires across western states such as California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington resulted in a total of $ 16.5 billion in damage, burned more than 10.2 million acres and left 46 dead, according to NOAA. . Forest fires also release large amounts of air-related pollution Health risks like asthma and heart attackThat leaves public health costs not included in the NOAA’s analysis.
Another costly disaster from 2020 was a derecho wind storm that traveled from southeastern South Dakota to Ohio, destroying homes and buildings, power cut to over 1 million people and caused damage totaling 11 billion dollars.