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NOAA: Ian, drought supercharged US weather extremes in 2022


DENVER — Costly weather disasters kept raining down on America last year, pounding the nation with 18 climate extremes that caused at least $1 billion in damage each, totaling more than $165 billion, federal climate scientists calculated Tuesday.

Even though 2022 wasn’t near record hot for the United States, it was the third-wildest year nationally both in number of extremes that cost $1 billion and overall damage from those weather catastrophes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report issued at the American Meteorological Society's conference.

The amount, cost and death toll of billion-dollar weather disaster s make up a key measurement, adjusted for inflation, that NOAA uses to see how bad human-caused climate change is getting. They led to at least 474 deaths.

“People are seeing the impacts of a changing climate system where they live, work and play on a regular basis,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said at a Tuesday press conference. “With a changing climate buckle up. More extreme events are expected.”

Hurricane Ian, the costliest drought in a decade and a pre-Christmas winter storm pushed last year's damages to the highest since 2017. The only more expensive years were 2017 — when Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria struck — and the disastrous 2005 when numerous hurricanes, headlined by Katrina, pummeled the Southeast, federal meteorologists said. The only busier years for billion-dollar disasters were 2020 and 2021.

Ian was the third-costliest U.S. hurricane on record with $112.9 billion in damage, followed by $22.2 billion in damage from a western and midwestern drought that halted barge traffic on the Mississippi River, officials said. The $165 billion total for 2022 doesn’t even include a total yet for the winter storm three weeks ago, which could push it close to $170 billion, officials said.



Published on 1/20/2023 (11 days ago) Climate Change