The deadly fires in Hawaii and the devastating storm surge from Hurricane Idalia caused the United States to set a new record for climate disasters that left at least $1 billion in damage. And there are still four months left until the calendar full of disasters ends.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States (NOAA) announced on Monday that, in the first eight months of the year, 23 extreme weather events were recorded, costing at least $1 billion each. , leaving behind the previous mark of 22 throughout 2020. So far, this year’s disasters have cost more than $57.6 billion and caused at least 253 deaths.
And NOAA’s tally does not include the damage from Tropical Storm Hilary in California and the severe drought that hit the southern and north-central regions of the country, because the total has not yet been counted, said Adam Smith, a climatologist. NOAA economist responsible for calculating disasters with $1 billion in damages.
“We’re seeing traces of climate change in our country,” Smith said in an interview Monday. “I don’t expect the situation to slow down anytime soon.”
NOAA tracks $1 billion in climate disasters in the United States since 1980 and adjusts the cost of damages for inflation. What is happening shows the increase in the number of disasters and the construction of additional zones in dangerous areas, said Smith.
“Exposure, plus vulnerability, plus climate change, translates into more than a $1 billion disaster,” Smith explained.
NOAA added eight new $1 billion disasters to the list published a month ago. In addition to the Idalia and Hawaii fires that left at least 115 dead, NOAA includes the August 11 hailstorm in Minnesota; severe storms in the northeastern United States in early August; severe storms in Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin in late July; hail and severe thunderstorms in mid-July in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia; flooding in the northeast of the country and in Pennsylvania in the second week of July; and a string of strong storms in late June in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.