USA sets new record for major disasters

US sets new record for major disasters

Hurricanes, western wildfires and mass flooding made 2017 the costliest year on record for disaster recovery in the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Monday.

The nation's third-hottest year on record is now officially its costliest for billion-dollar natural disasters.

The new tally shattered the previous 2005 record of $215 billion, driven mostly by Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita.

All told there were 16 major disasters that exceeded one billion dollars said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday, a record since NOAA started keeping track of billion-dollar disasters in 1980.

Climate change has made weather events more destructive, with fiercer, more violent storms and prolonged droughts that transformed swaths of the west into tinderboxes, driving up the losses.

Hurricane Irma racked up $50 billion in damages, landing it as the third-costliest weather and climate disaster of the year.

Five states ― Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and SC ― experienced their warmest year on record. 2017 tied 2011 for the largest total number of such events, at 16. One of those fires, the Thomas Fire, set the state's record for largest-ever inferno.

Man killed in explosion at Stockholm station
The man, in his 60s, was rushed to hospital but later died while his companion, a woman in her mid-40s, received minor wounds to her face and both legs, Olsson said.

NOAA did not link human-induced climate change to the major disasters that struck past year. Extreme rainfall up to 37 inches caused widespread flooding and mudslides across the island. Counting uninsured losses, that figure climbed to $330 billion.

The firm identified 710 natural catastrophes around the globe, significantly higher than the annual average of 605.

Insurance officials also said they expect more such catastrophes ahead. "Because even though individual events can not be directly traced to climate change, our experts expect such extreme weather to occur more often in future". "There's no denying that climate change will cost the USA trillions more in the next decade and that we have a financial and national security reason to act".

NOAA experts demurred on this question on a media call, declining to apportion how much of the large damage could be attributed to a changing climate, as opposed to other factors.

"For the purposes especially of this product, we do not try to parse those apart", Deke Arndt, chief of the monitoring section at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, said on a call with reporters.

"Economic losses from extreme weather events are rapidly escalating", the study said.

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