It's Official: 2017 was the most costly year for disasters on record at $306 Billion in Disaster Damage

January 09, 2018

It's Official:  2017 was the most costly year for disasters on record at $306 Billion in Disaster Damage

The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just announced officially that 2017 was the costliest year on record with $306 billion dollars in disaster-related damages, with 16 distinct events causing more than a billion dollars of damage each, all over the United States. These disasters tragically took over 360 lives and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.  These were just the most severe of 2017's disasters; there were hundreds more smaller events that don't make NOAA's billion dollar threshold.  It's an undeniable and data-backed fact that these types of disasters are becoming more frequent and severe, and causing more damage and disruption.

At Ready Nation, we don't take a political stance or argue about climate change - we just present the data.  This has led us to the logical conclusion that emergency preparedness is a prudent goal for everyone, and the unfortunate probability exists that the average American family will be confronted with a man-made or natural disaster at some point.  We feel like it's better to be prepared for that eventuality - with a plan, with supplies, and with knowledge.  No matter where you live, you've likely seen a nearby event, whether it was a flood, hurricane, wild fire, severe storm, drought, blizzard, or unexpected power outage.  Check out the NOAA data below and NOAA's website at and let us know how we can be a part of your planning and preparedness.


Billion-dollar disasters in 2017

Last year, the U.S. experienced 16 weather and climate disasters each with losses exceeding $1 billion, totaling approximately $306 billion — a new U.S. record.  

The number of weather and climate disasters that have exceeded $1.5 trillion in overall damages since 1980

Far more tragic was the human toll. At least 362 people died and many more were injured during the course of the disasters that included:

  • 1 freeze;

  • 1 drought (affected multiple areas);

  • 1 wildfire (affected multiple areas);

  • 2 floods;

  • 3 major hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria); and

  • 8 severe storms.

The biggest newsmakers include the western U.S. wildfires that caused damages tallying $18 billion — triple the previous U.S. record. Losses from Hurricane Harvey exceeded $125 billion, which ranked second only to Hurricane Katrina, the costliest storm in the 38-year period of record. Hurricanes Maria and Irma had total damages of $90 billion and $50 billion, respectively. Hurricane Maria now ranks as third costliest weather and climate disaster on record for the nation, with Irma coming in close behind as fifth costliest.

Since 1980, the U.S. has sustained 219 weather and climate disasters that have exceeded $1.5 trillion in overall damages to date.


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