This year is on pace to be one of the most active and costly years for disasters in the U.S. That’s according to the latest report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In the first nine months of this year, the U.S. has seen 18 separate weather and climate disasters that have cost the nation at least one-billion dollars each. These 18 events put 2021 in second place for the most billion-dollar disasters behind last year, when there were 22 such events. Even though this year has seen fewer events, the disasters have been more expensive. Costs from this year are estimated to have resulted in 104-point-eight-billion dollars in damages, surpassing last year’s estimated 100-point-four-billion.
The 18 billion-dollar disasters so far this year include ongoing drought and wildfires across the West, the severe cold snap in Texas and parts of the South in February, and four tropical storms and hurricanes that made landfall. Hurricane Ida has proved to be the year’s most expensive event by far, with damages initially estimated at 64-and-a-half-billion dollars. That makes Ida the fifth-costliest hurricane in American history.