As we get ready to put 2017 behind us and welcome a new year, it’s important to look back at the past year. From politics to record-setting hurricanes and wildfires, 2017 was quite a year for the United States. In fact, this was the second most disastrous year of U.S. weather since 2011.
In total, the country recorded 15 different weather events that caused a billion dollars or more of damage. That’s only one less than the 16 events recorded in the current record-holding year of 2011 according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.
Of course, some of the past years storms racked up far more than a billion dollars worth of damage. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused a combined total of $210 billion in damages.
Of course, hurricanes were not the only problem this year. California is still in the midst of dealing with its most destructive wildfire in the history of the state. Mark Bove, a senior research scientist with Munich Reinsurance America in Princeton, New Jersey, spoke with the Insurance Journal about these wildfires, saying, in short, that these wildfire problems are not going to go away in California. Prolonged drought and warming temperatures in California are not just extending the state’s wildfire season, they are increasing the evaporation rate of water,” Bove said. “This means that extreme wildfire conditions will return to California after a rain event more quickly today than in the past.”
Bob Henson, a meteorologist at at Weather Underground in Boulder, Colorado also spoke with the Insurance Journal about the past year, providing some context into just how devastating these weather events were to the United States. Bob pointed out that “…while other countries suffered intense and unprecedented weather in 2017, the range and number of incidents across America puts it in its own league. The U.S. took a disproportionate hit.”.