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  • Smoke is released into the sky at a refinery in Wilmington, California.

    Smoke is released into the sky at a refinery in Wilmington, California. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 January 2018

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2017 marked "a historic year of weather and climate disasters."
 

Last year was a record-breaker for climate disasters in the United States. Hundreds of people were killed and damages reached US$306 billion. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, detailed that the destructive climate events came during the third-warmest year on record for the U.S., according to Al-Jazeera.

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"During 2017, the U.S. experienced a historic year of weather and climate disasters," the weather agency said, adding that at least 362 people lost their lives during these calamities, which included three major hurricanes, Harvey, Maria and Irma.

"The cumulative damage of these 16 U.S. events during 2017 is US$306.2 billion, which shatters the previous U.S. annual record cost of US$214.8 billion established in 2005," NOAA noted.

While Hurrican Maria had a total damage estimate of US$90 billion dollars, Hurricane Irma reached US$50 billion.

Hurricane Harvey, which ravaged Texas, left damages exceeding US$125 billion.

Deadly wildfires spread across nine western U.S. states caused damage amounting to $18 billion. The amount breaks the previous record by threefold.

Other deadly climate event included droughts, floods and severe storms.

Scientists from the NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information said 2017 was the third-warmest the United States has ever experienced since climatic data was first recorded by this country 123 years ago.

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

A recent report titled “The Economic Case for Climate Action in the United States,” detailed that the number of extreme weather events has increased over the past few decades. It noted 21 in the 1980s; 38 in the 1990s; and 92 between 2006-16.


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