Home / News / World /  Extreme weather caused $165 billion damage to US in 2022: Report

In United States, some extreme weather conditions which includes major hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, drought, and a fierce winter storm caused more than $165 billion damage last year, according to a government report. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the country experienced 18 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in 2022, with Hurricane Ian the most costly at nearly $113 billion, as per AFP reports. 

Speaking to media persons here, NOAA administrator Richard Spinrad said, “Climate change is creating more and more intense extreme events that cause significant damage and often sets off cascading hazards like intense drought followed by devastating wildfires followed by dangerous flooding and mudslides."

“More and more Americans and more places are exposed to risks from climate and extreme weather. People are seeing the impacts of a changing climate system where they live, work and play on a regular basis," he said. 

In a year-end report, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information said (NCEI) that 2022 tied 2017 and 2011 for the most billion-dollar disasters in a calendar year, behind the 22 and 20 separate billion-dollar events of 2020 and 2021, AFP reported. 

The increasing number of extreme events "hints that the extremely high activity of recent years is becoming the new normal," the NCEI said, with Spinrad adding they should serve as a "wake-up call" to build resiliency.

With a $165 billion figure, 2022 ranked third in total costs behind 2017 (hurricanes Harvey and Irma) and 2005 (hurricane Katrina), the NCEI said, and the figure could rise when the impact of a sprawling winter storm that hit the central and eastern US in December is fully factored in. 

The report also noted that the figures do not reflect the total cost of last year's US weather and climate events, only those associated with major disasters that each caused more than $1 billion in damages. 

The billion-dollar events accounted for about 85 percent of the total damage from all recorded US weather and climate events in 2022, it said.

Hurricane Ian, which ravaged Florida in September, was far and away the most costly, causing $112.9 billion in damage and 152 deaths.

A summer heat wave and drought which gripped large parts of the central and western United States was next, causing $22.2 billion in damage, 136 deaths and leaving reservoirs such as Lake Mead severely depleted, according to AFP reports. 

Other weather and climate disasters included wildfires in the western US and Alaska, flooding in Missouri and Kentucky, tornadoes across southern and southeastern states and the December winter storm.

The 18 billion-dollar events resulted in at least 474 direct or indirect fatalities, the seventh most since 1980.


(With AFP inputs)

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