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US Climate-Linked Disasters Make 2022 3rd Costliest, Report Says


FILE - A winter storm covered western New York in snow, Dec. 24, 2022.
FILE - A winter storm covered western New York in snow, Dec. 24, 2022.

There were 18 weather and climate disaster events in the United States last year that each exceeded $1 billion in losses, making 2022 the third-costliest year in records spanning more than four decades, a federal report showed on Tuesday.

Last year was also the third-highest disaster count ever, the Assessing the U.S. Climate in 2022 report by the National Centers for Environmental Information said.

The centers counted six severe storms, three tropical cyclones, three hail events, two tornadoes and one each for drought, flood, winter storm, and wildfire events in 2022, resulting in the deaths of 474 people.

Hurricane Ian, which devastated parts of Florida in September, was billed as the third-costliest U.S. hurricane on the 43-year record, costing $112.9 billion, while the western-central U.S. drought and heat wave was also one of the more costly droughts on record, tallying up to $22.2 billion.

FILE - Remains of destroyed restaurants, shops and other businesses are seen almost one month after Hurricane Ian landfall in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Oct. 26, 2022.
FILE - Remains of destroyed restaurants, shops and other businesses are seen almost one month after Hurricane Ian landfall in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Oct. 26, 2022.

An eventful year

Worldwide, three of the decade's costliest disasters, including Hurricane Ian, happened in 2022.

"There are lots of success stories in 2022 that should be highlighted. Even with Ian we saw building codes work in some of the hardest hit areas, but damage from water is still a pain point," said Andrew Siffert, senior vice president of catastrophe analytics at re-insurance broker BMS Group.

"Another area of positive news was the California wildfire season, which saw minimal loss and relatively few large fires causing insured loss. The current rain is short-term good news, but will no doubt raise the future wildfire risk with fine fuel growth once the rains stop," Siffert added.

At the U.N. climate conference in Egypt, COP27, countries reached a landmark agreement on a loss-and-damages fund to help poorer countries cope with climate-disaster costs, but there are no further details yet on the size of the fund.

In 2023, countries plan to meet again at the next U.N. climate summit, COP28, in Dubai, under increased pressure to hold global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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    Reuters

    Reuters is a news agency founded in 1851 and owned by the Thomson Reuters Corporation based in Toronto, Canada. One of the world's largest wire services, it provides financial news as well as international coverage in over 16 languages to more than 1000 newspapers and 750 broadcasters around the globe.

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