The year 2020 was a record-setting year in many ways. Tragically, one of the records set was the number of extraordinary weather and climate events in this country that caused a billion dollars or more in damage, according to an annual report from NOAA.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there were 22 billion-dollar disasters last year, totalling about $95 billion spent so far on just those events. Sadly, more than 260 Americans died and dozens were injured in those events.
NOAA noted that there were a record-breaking 30 named tropical storms in the Atlantic in 2020, with 12 of them making landfall along America’s coast, several in Louisiana alone. More than 40% of the total spent on billion-dollar disasters was for the seven hurricanes and cyclones that made landfall.
A few of the billion-dollar disasters in 2020:
- Wildfires in western states
- 3 tornado outbreaks
- 7 tropical cyclones
- Midwest derecho
- Texas hail storms
Wildfires burned nearly 10.3 million acres in 2020, according to NOAA, the largest amount of acreage lost to wildfires in this country since at least 2000. The 3 largest wildfires in Colorado’s history happened in 2020, and five of the top 6 largest wildfires in California’s history happened last year.
NOAA has been tracking billion-dollar disasters since 1980.
All of the top five warmest years in the U.S. have happened since 2012. Alaska was the only state to have below-average temperatures in 2020, they had their coldest year since 2012.
While Nevada and Utah saw their driest years on record, North Carolina saw its second-wettest year.