(QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a new report detailing just how extreme, deadly, and costly weather and climate events were in 2022.
In the report, NOAA found that 2022 had 18 separate billion-dollar disasters, making it 3rd most active year on record, only behind 2020 and 2021.
The average number of billion-dollar disasters in a year is seven. Both 2020 and 2021 packed more than 20 disasters each year.
These 18 disasters included everything from hurricanes like Ian, Nicole, and Fiona; unprecedented drought in the West; severe wind and hail in the Midwest; and extreme snow and cold in Western New York.
Together, these disasters killed 474 people and cost $165 billion. Ian was the most costly hurricane on record at $112 billion. Hurricane Ian devastated southwest Florida back in late September, making landfall as one of the strongest U.S. hurricanes on record. The category 5 storm-packed catastrophic storm surge that wiped away homes that residents are still trying to rebuild.
As these extreme disasters become more frequent, the days to recover in between disasters are decreasing. A study done by Climate Central found that in the 1980s, there was an average of 82 days in between extreme disasters. Since at least 2018, the recovery time is now down to only 18 days.
Less time to recover impacts residents’ ability to recover physically; homes stay destroyed and insurance claims pile up. But, people also report PTSD and anxiety without enough time to mentally recover from these often traumatic experiences.
NOAA’s report also found that the contiguous U.S. had its 18th warmest year, putting it in the top third warmest on record. Charlotte’s average annual temperature was 1 degree warmer and 2% wetter than normal. While the numbers seem small, small changes to an average increase extremes.
Click here to read NOAA’s full report.
Click here to read Climate Central’s full report.