Natural disasters costing the U.S. billions every year

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — From tornadoes to wildfires and even a major drought, new federal data shows nearly 20 extreme weather events last year each caused more than $1 billion in destruction.

“These extremes have really ramped up and it’s not just the high frequency. It’s a high diversity of extremes across many parts of the country,” said Adam Smith, applied climatologist at NOAA.

The latest data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows these extreme weather events caused about $165 billion in destruction last year alone.

But that’s not even the final total!

NOAA officials said they’re still calculating the damage from last month’s snowstorm that hit the Northeast.

“The costs, the frequency of these extremes, our vulnerability to them. These are all trends are kind of going in the wrong direction,” said Smith.

Smith said Hurricane Ian was the most costly weather event last year after it caused nearly $113 billion in damages.

The hurricane devastated Florida at the end of Sep.

“Climate change is supercharging some of these extremes that lead to billion-dollar disasters,” said Smith.

Smith said they’re tracking only several weeks between each major disaster.

That means recovery is slower and potentially more expensive.

“Wherever you live, you know, think about your vulnerabilities, your exposures, events that have happened in the past, because it’s possible they could happen again

There is also a human cost from these natural disasters.

Across the country, we saw heroic efforts to save people after these storms.

Still, NOAA said more than 470 people lost their lives during extreme weather events last year.

Over the last seven years combined, NOAA said these extreme disasters caused more than $1 trillion in damages!