Alonzo Lewis rescues belongings from his mother’s home after it was destroyed by Hurricane Ida on August 30, 2021 in Laplace, Louisiana. Ida made landfall on August 29 as a Category 4 storm southwest of New Orleans.
Scott Olson | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Climate change disasters are wreaking havoc in many ways, causing death and upsetting the lives of entire communities. They also come with a hefty price tag.
The 20 natural disasters claimed 688 lives and cost $ 145 billion, of which $ 75 billion was due to Hurricane Ida.
Rising global temperatures are making extreme weather conditions even more extreme. Temperatures in 48 contiguous states were the highest on record in December, according to NOAA, at 39.3 degrees Fahrenheit, 6.7 degrees above average.
For all of 2021, the average temperature in the 48 contiguous states was 54.5 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the fourth hottest year in 127 years of observations by NOAA.
The six hottest years on record have occurred since 2012, according to NOAA.
The billion dollar disasters in 2021 included:
- Winter storm / cold wave in the Deep South and Texas.
- One wildfire in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
- One phenomenon of drought and extreme heat during the summer and fall in the western United States.
- Two floods in California and Louisiana.
- Three tornado outbreaks, including an unusual December outbreak (tornado season usually lasts spring and summer)
- Four tropical cyclones: Elsa, Fred, Ida and Nicholas.
- Eight other severe weather events (in many parts of the country).
By comparison, in 2020, there were $ 22 billion in weather and climate-related natural disasters, and the total damage caused by these 22 events was $ 102 billion.
Over the past five years, from 2017 to 2021, the total cost of these billions of dollars in disasters was estimated at $ 742 billion, according to NOAA. That’s an average of $ 148 billion a year.