US hit by record number of billion-dollar disasters so far this year

Between January and August, the United States was struck by a record-breaking 23 weather and climate disasters where losses exceeded $1 billion in each case.

The tally for 2023 has already exceeded the previous record of 22 such events in 2020, and four months still remain in the year.

These disasters included fires in Hawaii in August, flooding in California in the spring, and Hurricane Idalia that made landfall in Florida on August 30.

Together, they “caused 253 direct and indirect fatalities and produced more than $57.6 billion in damages,” NOAA said. Two more potential billion-dollar events—Tropical Storm Hilary on the West Coast, and the drought affecting the South and Midwest—remain under investigation.

Since 1980, the year NOAA began tracking these events, the United States has sustained 371 billion-dollar events, adjusted for inflation.

Between 2018-2022, the annual average has been 18.0 events, compared to 8.1 events between 1980-2022.