The U.S. is on pace to exceed 2020’s record number of billion-dollar disasters.
NOAA started tracking billion-dollar disasters in 1980, a decade after its founding. Last year, there were 22 such disasters – the most on record.
The mayhem in 2020 cost the country nearly $100 billion, according to NOAA.
There have been 308 billion-dollar disasters in the U.S. since 1980 with an average of 7.1 a year. But since 2018 alone, that average has more than doubled, to 16.7, according to NOAA data.
All of the disasters since 1980 combined have cost $2.085 trillion. There have been more than 14,000 deaths related to the events, with an average of more than 300 per year.
While all 50 states have had at least one billion-dollar disaster, more than 120 such disasters have impacted Texas – the most of any state.
Scientists say that due to the impacts of human-caused climate change, the number and intensity of weather and climate-related events will increase in coming years.
In an August report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, climatologists warned that the Earth’s temperatures would blow past a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent, though easing back a little on the likelihood of the absolute worst climate catastrophes.
The United Nations said the report was a “code red for humanity.”
“It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse,” said report co-author Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research told The Associated Press. “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.”
A new Pentagon climate report released Thursday calls for making worsening climate extremes a mandatory part of strategic planning, in addition to training troops how to secure their own water supplies and treat heat-related injuries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.