The US recorded 18 billion-dollar weather events in the first nine months of 2021, which is “unprecedented” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The number of natural disasters in the US is at its highest for the first nine months of a year on record, the NOAA said, adding that 2021 is the seventh consecutive year with 10 or more disasters costing over $1bn.
Four of the 18 disasters occurred in September, including Hurricane Ida, which is the costliest disaster of the year so far with total losses of over $60bn. September saw nine new named storms formed in the Atlantic taking the year to date total to 20.
In the year to September, the 18 events exceeding losses of $1bn included nine severe storms, four tropical cyclones, two flooding events, one drought/heatwave, one wildfire and one winter storm/cold wave.
The NOAA said total losses to property and infrastructure stood at $104.8bn for the year to date, running above $100.2bn for the first nine months of 2020. Some 538 people died in the 18 disasters, the NOAA said, double the number of deaths from billion-dollar disasters for full-year 2020.
The NOAA’s climate report said September was one of the warmest on record with temperatures averaging 3oC above the previous century. The nine months to September was the 10th warmest on record, NOAA said, with temperatures up 1.9oC above average, although Maine recorded its second-warmest year to date and California the third warmest on record.