(NEW YORK) — Damage from weather and climate disasters in 2022 could exceed $100 billion in the U.S. by the end of the year, according to estimations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
So far this year, 15 events — including the recent Hurricanes Fiona and Ian — have incurred damages of more than $1 billion, NOAA announced on Tuesday. It is the eighth consecutive year in which the U.S. has endured 10 or more billion-dollar disaster events.
The current tally for 2022 is $29.3 billion in destruction, but the costs from Fiona, Ian and the wildfires in the West are still being tallied, according to NOAA.
More than 340 people have died in these events, but death tolls could rise as search and rescue crews continue to comb through battered portions of Southwest Florida and Puerto Rico.
Ian made landfall in Florida on Sept. 28 as a strong Category 4 hurricane and tracked across the state before exiting into the Atlantic Ocean and making another landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 storm. Entire neighborhoods on Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach were decimated with storm surge and up to 150 mph winds.
On Sept. 18, Fiona brought major flooding, damage and loss of life to Puerto Rico — five years after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
Since 1980, the U.S. has sustained 338 weather and climate disasters in which the overall damages exceeded $1 billion, according to NOAA. The total cost of those 338 events exceeds $2.295 trillion.
Climate scientists warn that extreme weather events such as hurricanes, wildfires and drought will become more severe as global temperatures continue to rise.
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