The first four months of the year have been costly and record-breaking regarding weather and climate disasters.
As of May 8, seven weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each have been confirmed so far this year, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
The disasters comprised of five severe storm events, one winter storm and one flooding event. The total cost exceeded $19 billion and resulted in 97 deaths, data from NOAA reports.
The direct costs equaled $19 billion. It tops second place behind the first four months of 2021 with $36.1 billion, mostly driven by the historical Feb. 2021 winter storm and cold wave that crippled the Texas energy grid, NOAA said.
January-March: California flooding
Numerous atmospheric rivers in continuous succession caused severe flooding, record snowfall and copious rainfall that significantly reduced drought deficits across California, between late-December and March.
Flooding impacted many homes, businesses, levees, agriculture and other infrastructure, particularly across central California. Overall, the storm was estimated to cause $3.5 billion in damage.
Feb. 2-5: Northeastern winter storm and cold wave
A multiday strong winter storm from Feb. 2-5 produced snow, high winds and bitter cold across numerous northeastern states.
High winds caused widespread power outages in Massachusetts while Mount Washington, New Hampshire observed a wind chill temperature of negative 108 degrees. This was one of the coldest wind chill temperatures ever recorded in the U.S., according to NOAA. One death was also reported.
The event had an estimated cost of $1.6 billion.
March 2-3: South and eastern severe weather
The high wind and tornadoes caused widespread damage estimated at $4.5 billion to homes, vehicles, businesses, government buildings and infrastructure, according to NOAA.
Thirteen deaths were also reported from the severe weather event.
March 24-26: South and eastern severe weather
Across southern and eastern U.S., severe storms damaged homes, businesses, vehicles and other infrastructure. According to NOAA, additional high wind damage occurred in parts of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
March 31 - April 1: Central tornado outbreak and eastern severe weather
A historic tornado outbreak unfolded March 31-April 1 across numerous central states causing $4.3 billion in damages, killing 33 people.
At least 145 tornadoes were reported with Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Tennessee and Pennsylvania seeing the most impact from severe damage to homes, businesses, vehicles, agriculture and other infrastructure.
One of the hardest-hit places was the western Mississippi town of Rolling Fork, where the terrifying night began. Many of the state’s fatalities happened in the town that has a population of just under 2,000 people.
April 4-6: Central and eastern severe weather
More severe storms days later produced large hail, high winds and more than 35 tornadoes across many central and southern states, NOAA states.
The states most affected were Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and Michigan where there was considerable damage to homes, businesses, agriculture, vehicles and other infrastructure.
As much as $2.2 billion in damages was estimated, according to NOAA, resulting in 5 deaths.
April 15: Central and southern severe weather
The last billion-dollar disaster this year occurred on April 15 across several central and southern states.
Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle were all impacted by hail, tornadoes and high winds, NOAA reports. These storms caused $1 billion in damage to many homes, vehicles and businesses. No deaths were reported.
According to NOAA, these seven billion-dollar disasters so far this year is the second-highest number recorded during the first four months of a year. Only 2017 and 2020 had more, with eight separate disasters recorded in January-April.
NOAA said there are still three more events on a preliminary list with calculations not yet finalized that could potentially exceed the $1 billion-dollar threshold. They include the April severe storms that cause severe damage across numerous Central states, in addition to the Florida and central Texas hail storms.