2020 tied for most number of billion-dollar weather disasters

Weather Blog

Hurricane Laura – August 2020 | Courtesy: NASA

This year has been anything but normal with new records being set in all types of weather events: wildfires, hurricanes, severe storms, drought and heat.

New numbers from NOAA show 16 weather/climate disasters have impacted the U.S. this year with losses exceeding $1 billion each and a total death toll of 188 people. As of October 7th, 2020’s billion-dollar events include 1 drought, 11 severe storm events, 3 tropical cyclones and 1 wildfire.

This year’s 16 billion-dollar disasters ties the record set in 2011 and 2017. It also comes in far above the 30-year average (1980-2019) of 6.6 events/year… and the more recent 5-year average (2015–2019) of 13.8 events/year. 2020 marks the 6th consecutive year of 10 or more billion dollar disasters impacting the U.S.

The total coast of 2020’s weather disasters is currently approaching $50.0 billion, but does not yet account for Hurricane Sally, the historic Western wildfires and the Western/Central Drought and Heatwave.

2020 Billion-Dollar Weather & Climate Disasters | valid as of October 7th

This year is currently outpacing the past 30 years in frequency of events given the year-to-date (shown below):

1980-2020 Year-To-Date U.S. Billion Dollar Disaster Event Frequency | COURTESY: NCEI
Monthly breakdown of U.S. billion-dollar disasters (40 year history) | Courtesy: NCEI

Texas’ 2020 Weather & Climate Disasters

  • Severe weather: April 21st – 23rd
  • South Texas hail storm: May 27th
  • Hurricane Laura: August 27th-28th
Billion-dollar weather events affecting Texas in 2020 (as of October 7th) | Courtesy: NCEI
Billion-dollar weather events affecting Texas by time period (as of October 7th) | Courtesy: NCEI

For more information, visit the National Centers for Environmental Information website.

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