2017 was a rough year, there is no other way to look at it. The U.S. had a difficult year in many aspects, but it was the constant barrage of natural disasters trying to knock the nation to its knees that did some of the worst damage. Last year alone, the U.S. found itself dealing with 16 separate natural disasters that did over $1 billion in damages each, 10 more than the usual yearly average.
After tallying up the total bill for damages following all of 2017 insanity, the final bill turned out to be $306 billion, eclipsing the previous record of $215 billion set in 2005, and a huge portion of that was due to hurricane Katrina.
In fact, if we are just talking about hurricanes, three of the five most expensive hurricanes of all time happened this year: 1. Harvey, 3. Maria, 5. Irma. It just seemed like no matter how much work was done, the hits just kept coming.
Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico definitely took the brunt of the damage, but Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina and Tennessee all faced down disasters that did more than $1 billion in damages.
Why is this happening though?
Marshall Shepherd, professor of Meteorology at the University of Georgia had a pretty simple explanation. “While we have to be careful about knee-jerk cause-effect discussions, (many scientific studies) show that some of today’s extremes have climate change fingerprints on them,” said Shepherd.
According to the national weather agency, 2017 was the third-hottest year in U.S. history, and they started keep temperature records back in 1895. Sure there were two years that were hotter, but this was the third straight year where all 50 states had temperatures that were above their usual average.
In fact, the five hottest years on record have all happened over the last 12 years.
Was your home city hit by a natural disaster this past year? Let us know in the comments.