U.S. Natural Disaster Costs Reach $306 billion in 2017
Natural disasters caused $306 billion in total damage across the U.S. in 2017 – the largest amount for one year.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in 2017, there were 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. The events included 1 drought event, 2 flooding events, 1 freeze event, 8 severe storm events, 3 tropical cyclone events, and 1 wildfire event. Overall, the events resulted in the deaths of 362 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted.
According to NOAA, "2017 arguably has more events than 2011 given that our analysis traditionally counts all U.S. billion-dollar wildfires, as regional-scale, seasonal events, not as multiple isolated events."
Hurricane Harvey, which resulted in unprecedented flooding in Houston and surrounding areas, was the year’s most expensive disaster, causing $125 billion in damage. Puerto Rico continues to be mired in a blackout following Hurricane Maria, which caused $90 billion in damage. Hurricane Irma caused $50 billion in total damage.
The storms also caused 251 combined deaths, NOAA found.
Western wildfires cost another $18 billion and 54 lives, according to NOAA. This was also another annual record.
Other large costs stemmed from tornadoes, droughts, flooding and other severe weather events.