- There have been 18 weather disasters that cost the US more than $1 billion in 2021.
- Combined, the events cost $104.8 billion in damages, according to a report from NOAA.
- This year is second to 2020 for the most disastrous weather events.
So far in 2021, the US has had 18 weather disasters that have each cost more than $1 billion dollars, a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information found.
According to the report, the 18 events combined have cost the US around $104.8 billion in damages.
This year is a close second to 2020's record of 22 weather disasters. However, the 2020 damages were estimated at around $95 billion for all 22, less than the cost of damages so far in 2021.
NOAA reported that the 18 events also resulted in 538 deaths, more than double the 262 fatalities in 2020.
Last month, CNBC reported that Hurricane Ida, which hit the US in late August and impacted cities as far apart as New Orleans and New York, could cost as much as $95 billion in damages alone. That would make it the 7th costliest hurricane since 2000.
Wildfires in the western part of the country burned through the summer and fall. By July, they had burned an area larger than the state of Delaware and their smoke had reached the East Coast. AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers estimated that the damages from the 2021 wildfire season would be between $70 billion and $90 billion.
The Washington Post reported that the frequency of these disasters can be tied to rising temperatures that are contributing to the climate crisis. Population growth and expansion of infrastructure are adding to the cost.
A report from Climate Central, a climate research group, found that these costly weather disasters are happening more and more frequently. While the average time between disasters of this scale and cost was 82 days in the 1980s, it has averaged at only 18 days over the past five years.
Camilo Mora, a professor at the University of Hawaii who focuses on the impact of human activities on biodiversity patterns, told the Post that if warming continues it will increase weather disasters that could cause severe impact on human life.
"When you look back 500 million years at the evolution of the planet, one of the worst extinction events in the history of our planet was caused by warming," Mora told the Post. "We can't say exactly if it will be the same, but I can tell you based on the past that it can be pretty bad."