US on Pace for Record Number of Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters

Two firefighters work to extinguish a raging fire

October 12, 2020

Two firefighters work to extinguish a raging fire

The United States experienced a record 16 billion-dollar weather-related disasters through September, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information.

Six of those weather-related events—western wildfires, a western/central US drought and heat wave, Hurricane Sally, Hurricane Laura, the Midwest derecho, and Hurricane Isaias—have occurred since June, NOAA noted.

Eleven of the sixteen disasters were due to severe storms that occurred across more than thirty states. The remaining five included one wildfire, one drought, and three tropical cyclones.

The 16 billion-dollar weather-related disasters so far tie 2020 with 2011 and 2017 for the largest number of disasters in a calendar year, according to NOAA. This is also the record sixth consecutive year in which 10 or more billion-dollar disasters have struck the United States.

While part of the United States saw cooler-than-average temperatures in September, California and Oregon saw their hottest September on record while Arizona and Nevada experienced their second hottest.

Average precipitation for the month ranked in the middle third in the 126-year US weather record, though some locations did experience a wetter-than-normal September, including the Deep South and Southeast, mainly due to Tropical Storm Beta and Hurricane Sally. Georgia had its ninth-wettest September on record.

October 12, 2020