Billion-Dollar Disasters in 2022

As of October 2022, the U.S. experienced 15 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters well above the historical average of seven events per year. The 15 weather-related events amounted to $29.3B but this does not reflect the full toll on the communities impacted – significant indirect costs due to public health complications, scarcity of food and water supplies, widespread power outages, displacement of families, and the disruptions to biodiversity and habitats are just some of the unrecorded statistics.

As seen in the past five years alone, a total of 89 events caused an estimated 4,557 deaths and over $788 billion in damage, as reported by NOAA. Tornado outbreaks in the Southeast spawned 88 tornadoes within the month of April, in May a hailstorm in the Midwest left golf-ball sized hail, and derecho wind storms produced 70+ mph wind gusts across the lower Midwest.

At the current rate, the number of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters are expected to grow, and susceptible regions across the country will continue to be battered. It’s important to note the frequency in which these events continue to occur has increased from 82 days between disasters back in the 1980s, to 18 days as of 2017. During 2020, there were as little as two weeks on average between the 22 billion-dollar disasters. Less time between each disaster means less recovery time, limited resources, and minimal preparation time for the next disastrous event.

Author: Brandon Haley