Hurricane Ian is this year’s $15 billion US disaster

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The latest update from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that Hurricane Ian, the Category 4 hurricane that devastated parts of southwest Florida in September, is now the 15th billion-dollar disaster of 2022.

Looking back

This year marks the eighth consecutive year of 10 or more weather or climate disasters totaling more than $1 billion each, a new record for the U.S.

Researchers predict that the total number of deaths will exceed 340 people, and the total cost of infrastructure and property damage will be close to $100 billion—a mark we have reached in four of the last five years.

This year’s $15 billion events include 10 major storms, two hurricanes, one flood, one drought and heat wave, and one regional wildfire.

Updated 2022 Billion Dollar Disaster Map (Courtesy: NOAA)
Updated 2022 Billion Dollar Disaster Map (Courtesy: NOAA)

Disasters in Texas

Two of the $15 billion disasters occurred in Texas, both of which were severe weather events.

May 1-3 bad weather: An upper-level storm system crossing the Rockies interacting with a dry line in eastern New Mexico led to the development of strong storms in the Texas Panhandle and Southern Plains. Supercells developing along the dry line produced baseball-sized hail, wind gusts in excess of 80 mph, and several tornadoes, including a strong EF-2 tornado.

April 11-13 bad weather: A strong spring storm system brought severe thunderstorms to parts of north and central Texas, southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana for three consecutive days. In particular, one strong storm spawned a tornado in northwestern Williamson County that developed into an EF-3 tornado in Salado (Bell County).

Severe Storm Reports for April 12, 2022
Severe Storm Reports for April 12, 2022
Severe Storm Reports for April 13, 2022
Severe Storm Reports for April 13, 2022

I expect

With three months left in the year, the hope is to avoid adding another disaster to the list. By comparison, last year there were two billion-dollar disasters after Sept. 30, both of which were tornado outbreaks — one in the Midwest (Dec. 15) and one in the Southeast (Dec. 10).

2021 US Billion Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (Courtesy: NOAA)

In total, $20 billion worth of weather and climate disasters occurred in 2021, two shy of the record $22 billion worth of events recorded in 2020.

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