AUSTIN (KXAN) — The newest update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Hurricane Ian, the category four hurricane that devastated parts of southwest Florida in September, is now the 15th billion-dollar disaster of 2022.
This year marks the eighth consecutive year of 10 or more weather or climate disasters totaling over a billion dollars each, a new record for the U.S.
Researchers predict the combined death total to exceed 340 people, and a total cost of infrastructure and property damage near $100 billion —a mark we’ve reached four out of the last five years.
This year’s 15 billion-dollar events include 10 severe storms, two hurricanes, one flood, one drought and heatwave and one regional wildfire.
Two of the 15 billion-dollar disasters occurred in Texas, both being severe weather events.
May 1-3 severe weather: An upper-level storm system crossing the Rockies interacting with a dryline in eastern New Mexico led to the development of severe storms across the Texas Panhandle and South Plains. Supercells developing along the dryline produced baseball size hail, wind gusts in excess of 80 miles per hour and a few tornadoes, including a strong EF-2 tornado.
April 11-13 severe weather: A strong spring storm system brought severe thunderstorms to parts of North and Central Texas, southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana for three consecutive days. One severe storm in particular spawned a tornado in northwest Williamson County that went on to grow into a violent EF-3 tornado in Salado (Bell County).
With three more months left in the year, the hope is to avoid adding another disaster to the list. For comparison, last year had two billion-dollar disasters after Sept. 30, both being tornado outbreaks — one in the Midwest (Dec. 15) and another in the Southeast (Dec. 10).
In total, 2021 had 20 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, two shy of the record 22 billion-dollar events recorded in 2020.