All Weather News

2017: The Year of Billion-Dollar Disasters

6 Oct 2017, 5:13 pm

When it comes to weather and climate trends and extremes the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is the authority. And they know their stuff. In fact, all the way back in 2012 members sat with economics experts and a consulting partner to make sure their information contained no bias. So, the analysis of natural disaster costs is the real deal.

Since 1970 there has been a total of 218 disasters with a price tag topping 1 billion dollars.
The total cost of these disasters tips the scales at more than 1.2 trillion dollars, and that’s before adding the costs of Harvey, Irma, and Maria.


This year has been one of the costliest on record and we still have almost 3 months remaining.

There have been 15 separate weather-related disasters costing more than 1 billion dollars.

  • 7 severe weather outbreaks
  • 3 tropical cyclones
  • 2 floods
  • 1 dought
  • 1 wildfire
  • 1 freeze

It’s not just the pocketbook, these disasters have claimed 282 lives as well.


2011 tops the list as the year with the most billion-dollar disasters. 16 total, 15 of those occurring between January and September. On track with what we’ve seen so far in 2017.

From 1980 to 2016 there was an average of 5.5 billion-dollar events each year.

Looking just from 2012 to 2016 that number jumped to a staggering 10.6 billion-dollar events each year.


As with any data, there is a certain amount of uncertainty.
Factors like insurance coverage or costs related to damage not related to the event all play a role in skewed total cost numbers.

Sources for cost information include:

  • National Weather Service
  • FEMA
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Other Government Agencies
  • Individual State and Emergency Management Agencies
  • State and Regional Climate Centers
  • Media Reports
  • Insurance Industry Estimates

Article Reference: 

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview

For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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