US smashes record for number of billion dollar disasters

US smashes record for number of billion dollar disasters

Total costs of 15 natural disasters expected to exceed $39.7 billion

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US has surpassed the record for the number of natural disasters during the first seven months of the year that left damage totaling $1 billion or more, according to government data released Tuesday.

This year has seen 15 separate weather and natural disasters accrue damage in excess of the gargantuan price tag, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday. That includes 13 severe storms, a winter storm and one incident of mass flooding.

That is the highest number of incidents during the January - July period since 1980, according to NOAA's National Centers for Environment Information. The cost of the disasters is estimated to run in excess of $39.7 billion with 113 deaths associated with the events, according to the agency.

The majority of disasters occurred in the Midwest and South, while the state of California recorded mass flooding during the first three months of 2023. The northeast was the site of a devastating winter storm in early February.

July saw heat records shattered across much of the US, particularly in the southwest and the state of Florida, said the agency. Last month was the 11th warmest on record for the nation, it added.

There have been 363 natural disasters in which damages exceeded $1 billion since 1980. The total cost associated with the events is nearly $2.6 trillion.

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