Was 2016 the Worst Weather Year Ever?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. just logged its second warmest year on record – a span covering 122 years of data. The average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 54.9°F, which was 2.9°F above the 20th century average.

2016 ranks only behind 2012 (55.3°F), and it represents the 20th consecutive warmer-than-normal year for the U.S. Globally, 2015 holds the current title of warmest year on record.

In addition to the near all-time record warmth, during 2016, the U.S. endured 15 weather-related disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion, causing a total of $46 billion in damages. This was the second highest number of billion-dollar events since 1980, only one less than 2011.

2016 NOAA map of major weather-related disasters

One of the most notable of the disasters was Hurricane Matthew, a major storm that caused significant flood and wind damage to property and crops across the Southeast in early October. In contrast, four of the 15 disasters were inland flooding events not associated with named tropical storms. That figure is double the previous record for billion-dollar inland flood events in one year.

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