The list of billion dollar weather disasters to hit the United States in 2022 continues to grow, with Hurricanes Ian and Fiona becoming the most recent such disasters the country has experienced this year.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Ian was the 15th billion dollar disaster so far in 2022, marking a record for the eighth consecutive year in which the United States has experienced weather disasters of $10 billion or more.
Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida as it made landfall Sept. 28 in the Fort Myers area as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane. Ferocious winds from Ian at 150 mph pushed ashore feet of water from the Gulf of Mexico that ripped through homes and businesses along the Florida coastline.
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The following day, Hurricane Ian crossed the Florida peninsula on a diagonal and dumped torrential rains inland and blew in storm surge along the opposite coast from where it made landfall.
Ian made landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane on September 30, two days after hitting Florida.
More than 100 people were killed by Hurricane Ian in Florida alone, with additional deaths also reported in North Carolina, Virginia and Cuba.
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Hurricane Fiona was also recently added to this year’s list of billion dollar weather disasters, according to NOAA. Although this hurricane did not directly impact the continental United States, Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 1 hurricane on September 18, approximately 10 days before Hurricane Ian’s disastrous strike on Florida.
The entire archipelago of Puerto Rico lost power as Fiona brought gusts of wind reaching 103 mph to Ponce, a major city on the south coast of the main island of US territory. Hurricane Fiona also brought extreme rainfall to Puerto Rico, causing widespread flooding and mudslides that damaged many homes, businesses, vehicles, and other infrastructure.
NOAA estimates more than two dozen people were killed in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona.
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In addition to hurricanes Ian and Fiona, the country 13 more billion-dollar disasters this year includes 10 separate severe weather events, flooding in Kentucky and St. Louis in July, a combined drought and heat wave in the West as Lake Mead and other major reservoirs continue to deplete, and the damaging wildfire season across the West, where millions of acres have burned since spring.
These $15 billion catastrophic events have been blamed for more than 300 deaths in the United States, with assessments still ongoing in Florida and Puerto Rico in the wake of Ian and Fiona, so that number will likely continue to dwindle. increase in the days and weeks to come. .
Combined property and infrastructure damage losses currently stand at $29.3 billion so far in 2022, but this figure does not yet include the costs of Hurricanes Ian and Fiona and the 2020 fire season. forest in the West, which could bring the total for the year closer to 100 billion dollars – a total reached in four of the last five years.
According to NOAA, the United States has suffered $338 billion in weather and climate disasters since records began in 1980. The total cost of these 338 events exceeds $2.295 trillion.