billion-dollar natural disaster event frequency in us
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The US has sustained 212 weather and climate disasters since 1980, but the years with the most frequent events have all occurred since 2011. During the 18-year period 1980-1998, 70 billion-dollar events occurred, costing a total of $395.2 billion dollars and the loss of 4,287 lives. During the somewhat shorter 17.5-year period 1999-July 2017, 142 billion-dollar events occurred, costing a total of $842.3 billion dollars and the loss of 5,393 lives.
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2017). https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/
It is important to note that the above 2017 figures do not cover the 2017 hurricane season which includes the catastrophic hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. According to the New York Times (October 12, 2017), with a month and a half to go until season end, nearly 5 times the full season average of major hurricane days were experienced in 2017.
NOAA has since reported (1-08-18) that extreme weather events caused $306 billion of damage to the US in 2017, the most expensive year on record. 16 $1 billion plus natural disasters occurred in 2017, compared to 3 (inflation adjusted) in 1980.