With 16 climate disasters each with losses at over $1 billion, total economic losses for U.S. climate disasters reached $306 billion, making 2017 both the costliest and warmest year on U.S. records, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration end of year recap.
The western U.S. wildfires tripled the previous U.S. record for the peril, causing damages of $18 billion and at over $125 billion, Hurricane Harvey became the second costliest storm in the 38 year period of record.
Hurricane Maria followed as the third costliest weather and climate disaster on record; Hurricanes Maria and Irma had total damages of $90 billion and $50 billion, respectively.
2017 was the third warmest year in 123 years of record-keeping and the 21st consecutive year that the annual average temperature exceeded the average, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Looking ahead to 2018, the U.S. department of commerce said recovery from the ravages of three major Atlantic hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. and an extreme and ongoing wildfire season in the West is expected to continue well into the new year.
Reinsurance firm Munich Re recently put 2017 global insured catastrophe losses at $135 billion, while fellow reinsurer Swiss Re estimated insured natural catastrophe losses at $131 billion for the year.