Extreme weather caused $110 billion in damage in 2012

Waldo Fire-600June 13, 2013

Second costliest year on record for severe weather, with 11 separate billion-dollar disasters, NOAA reports.

Daily Climate staff report

Severe weather cost the nation $110 billion in damages in 2012, the second-costliest in history, according to disaster information released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All told the United States saw 11 weather and climate disasters last year with losses exceeding $1 billion in damages. 

The total puts 2012 second in total damages behind 2005, which saw four devastating hurricanes, including Katrina and Rita, and incurred $160 billion in costs.

Hurricane Sandy was responsible for more than half of 2012's total, with approximately $65 in claims. The Midwest drought soaked up another $30 billion.

Sandy also incurred the worst loss of life, with more than 130 fatalities tied to the storm that engulfed nearly 500 miles along the East Coast.

But heat waves last year caused more than 100 deaths, and the largest drought in the United States since the 1930s had the federal government declaring drought disasters in 2,600 of the nation's 3,143 counties.

Drought conditions also led to several devastating wildfires that burned more than 9 million acres in 2012, NOAA reported.

The 11 billion-dollar disaster events in 2012 rank second behind the 14 events in 2011. Those 11 events killed more than 300 people and had "devastating economic effects" on the regions impacted, NOAA said.

The Daily Climate is an independent news service covering climate change. Contact Douglas Fischer at dfischer [at] DailyClimate.org

Photo of flag flying over burned out homes in Colorado Springs, Colo., in the wake of 2012's Waldo Canyon Fire by Michael Rieger/FEMA.

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