United States Experiences Record 18 Billion-Dollar Disasters through September

A businessman standing in front of a tornado and lightning strikes, shielding his face

October 14, 2021

A businessman standing in front of a tornado and lightning strikes, shielding his face

The United States saw an unprecedented 18 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters during the first 9 months of 2021, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Centers for Environmental Information.

The disasters included nine severe storms, four tropical cyclones, two flooding events, one combined drought and heat wave, one wildfire event, and one combined winter storm and cold wave, NOAA said.

The events resulted in 538 deaths, twice the number of deaths from all the billion-dollar disasters in the United States in 2020, according to NOAA.

Total losses due to property and infrastructure damage stood at $104.8 billion through the end of September, topping the $100.2 billion in inflation-adjusted losses in 2020, NOAA said.

This year is also a record 7th consecutive year in which the United States experienced 10 or more billion-dollar disasters, according to NOAA.

September 2021 was the fifth-warmest September on record, NOAA said. It also included four of the year's billion-dollar disasters: flooding from Hurricane Ida, the landfall of Hurricane Nicholas, and ongoing drought and wildfires in the western United States.

Hurricane IDA was the year's most expensive disaster to date, according to NOAA, exceeding $60 billion in losses. The storm ranks among the top five costliest hurricanes on record for the US since 1980, and its total cost will likely increase as damage costs continue to accumulate, NOAA said.

The 2021 Atlantic Basin hurricane season saw 20 named storms through the end of September, NOAA said. In September alone, nine new named storms formed: Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, and Victor.

Meanwhile, by the end of September, nearly six million acres of the United States were consumed by wildfires, according to NOAA.

October 14, 2021