What a Disaster! 2017 Weather Was Truly Historic
If the past year felt like a severe weather whirlwind, that’s because it was. During 2017, the U.S. was impacted by 16 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events — tying 2011 for the most billion-dollar disasters in a single year, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).
Along with the high frequency of these devastating events is the overall cost. NCEI reports the cumulative damage of these 16 U.S. events during 2017 was $306.2 billion, which breaks the previous U.S. annual record cost of $214.8 billion (Consumer Price Index-adjusted), established in 2005 due to the impacts of Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
Several of 2017’s weather and climate disaster occurrences had a large impact on agriculture, too. The most notable included:
In addition to the wild weather extremes of the last 12 months, 2017 was the third warmest year on record (since 1895) — behind only 2012 and 2016, according to NOAA. The five warmest years on record for the contiguous U.S. have all occurred since 2006.
So what’s in store for 2018? It sure has started out on a cold note for most of the country. In October, forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said a looming La Niña climate phase could mean colder and wetter than normal winter in the northern U.S. and drier than usual in the south. We’re off and running. Keep an eye on the radar.