In the first nine months of 2021, the United States has already faced 18 disasters that cost more than $ 1 billion each, according to a report from NOAA’s National Environmental Information Centers.
This is the seventh consecutive year that the United States has experienced more than 10 disasters totaling more than $ 1 billion.
September alone had “the devastating effects of four of the 18 disasters: the flooding from Hurricane Ida, the landing of Hurricane Nicholas, and the ongoing drought and forest fires. that plague western communities, ”NOAA said.
These disasters for 2021 include: nine severe storms, four tropical cyclones, two floods, one drought and one heat wave combined, one wildfire and one winter storm and one cold snap combined.
Of these disasters, 538 people have died so far in 2021.
This is “more than double the death toll compared to all events in 2020,” the report said.
“Total losses due to damage to property and infrastructure so far stand at $ 104.8 billion – eclipsing $ 100.2 billion incurred last year (adjusted for 2021 inflation),” indicates the report.
2020 saw the record number of $ 22 billion in disasters.
The average number of billion dollar disasters between 1980 and 2020 is seven. However, over the past five years, that average number has increased to 16.
Hurricane Ida has been the costliest disaster so far this year, and the final price is still unknown as claims continue to rise.
Ida has so far surpassed $ 60 billion, ranking it among the five costliest U.S. hurricanes on record.
Ida not only devastated the Gulf Coast, but then caused catastrophic flooding in parts of the northeast on September 1.
“Flash flood emergencies were first declared in parts of New Jersey and New York. Flash floods, severe tornadoes and numerous deaths resulted,” the report said.
The September heat was scorching
September was one of the hottest on record.
“The average September temperature across the contiguous United States was 67.8 degrees F – 3.0 degrees above the 20th century average – making it the fifth hottest September on the climate record. 127 years old, ”the report said. Colorado and Rhode Island experienced their third warmest September on record.
California, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming all finished September in the top 5 hottest.
The average temperature for the whole year was 1.9 degrees above average, making it the 10th warmest year on record. Maine is ranked as its second hottest year yet, while California is ranked third so far this year.
Precipitation, drought and fires
“Precipitation has been above average in parts of the northwest, southwest, north and central plains and the central Gulf Coast to New England,” the report said.
Pennsylvania had its seventh wettest September while Massachusetts was in eighth, mainly due to the rain received by Ida’s remnants.
Precipitation was below average over much of the northern Rockies, the Deep South and the Midwest, according to the report. Oklahoma had its ninth driest September on record.
At the end of September, about 47.8% of the contiguous United States was experiencing drought.
“Drought conditions extended or intensified in parts of the Midwest and Central Plains and developed rapidly in the southern plains during the second half of September,” the report said.
Drought in the West has led to an active forest fire season throughout the region.
“At the end of September, nearly six million acres were consumed in the United States, which is about 500,000 acres less than the 10-year average (2011-2020) since the start of the year,” indicates the report.
The KNP Complex wildfires broke out in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park in California in September, threatening some of the world’s oldest and largest redwoods.