Thomas Robinson | July 28th, 2020
As of July 8th, the US has already experienced ten weather and climate disasters where the losses exceed one billion dollars.
Billion-dollar disasters are weather or climate events that result in losses reaching, or exceeding, one billion dollars in damage costs. In a concerning trend, the past five consecutive years have all had ten or more billion-dollar events averaging almost fourteen severe events per year. There have been ten billion-dollar disasters so far in 2020 occurring earlier than any other year prior.
Climate projections suggest that severe storms will increase in both frequency and intensity supporting the need for increased disaster relief funding to address the prevalence of expensive disaster clean-up. Surprisingly, the storms responsible for almost half of the billion-dollar disasters since 1980 have been severe thunderstorms rather than hurricanes or floods.
Iowa has recently been involved in the billion-dollar disaster figure with the 2019 Missouri river floods which caused around $1.6 billion in damages. As weather patterns become more severe, the likelihood storms reach the billion-dollar mark will increase making events like the 2019 floods more common events for Iowans.