Top 16 extreme weather disasters in 2017

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During 2017, the USA experienced 16 different billion-dollar weather and climate disaster incidents.

The U.S. had 16 disasters past year with damage exceeding a billion dollars each, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Monday.

This marks 2017 as the costliest year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

Worldwide, insurers paid out an all-time high of $135 billion in 2017 due to weather-related disasters, according to the Washington Post.

Globally, the human impact of these disasters has been particularly tragic with the total toll from 2017 disasters estimated at more than 11,000 people dead or missing.

Last year's western wildfire season-which ravaged large parts of California-cost $18 billion, "tripling the previous U.S. annual wildfire cost record", said the report.

Hurricane Maria, September: $90 billion, 65 deaths Puerto Rico took the brunt of the Category 4 Maria, which made landfall in the southeast part of the island after whalloping the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix.

The year saw 16 natural disasters that caused more than $1 billion of damage.

Last year was also the third-hottest year on record, the NOAA said. That's 2.6 degrees above average and the third-warmest year in the United States since record-keeping began 123 years ago.

That was triple the previous US record.

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The U.S. also set a new annual record for the cumulative cost for these events.

The worst was Hurricane Harvey with 125 billion dollars.

Two recent attribution studies done in the wake of Hurricane Harvey show that climate change worsened the extreme rainfall associated with that storm.

Despite the record-breaking temperatures, the NOAA fell short of linking climate change to the major disasters.

Deadly wildfires spread across nine western US states caused damage amounting to $18 billion.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria added another $140 billion, making 2017 the most expensive hurricane season on record.

Indeed, the key question underlying the latest tally of disaster cost is to what extent climate change may be driving the United States and the rest of the world toward more numerous or more severe disasters.

The annual average of billion-dollar storms from 1980 to 2017 is 5.8, said NOAA.

Arndt said the US - which has had above normal annual temperatures for 21 straight years - is showing the same warming effects as the rest of the world.

Other costly climate events included severe storms, drought, and floods. Only 2012 and 2016 were warmer.

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