2022’s 18 Natural Disasters Cost the US a Total $165B, Report Says
WASHINGTON — Devastating hurricanes, deadly flooding and prolonged record-setting drought in much of the U.S. were just a few of the 18 natural disasters that cost taxpayers roughly $165 billion last year, according to a new federal report.
The sobering findings were part of a review of weather and climatic activity compiled annually by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
According to the agency, the average annual temperature across the contiguous United States in 2022 was 53.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
That was 1.4 degrees above the 20th century average, and placed the year firmly in the warmest third of the 128-year record.
Individually, two states — Florida and Rhode Island — saw their fifth-warmest calendar years on record, while Massachusetts saw its sixth warmest.
Four additional states experienced a top 10 warmest year on record — California, Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire. Alaska saw its 16th-warmest year in the 98-year record for the state.
Annual precipitation across the contiguous U.S. totaled 28.35 inches (1.59 inches below average), which placed 2022 in the driest third of the climate record.
Nebraska saw its fourth-driest year on record while California had its ninth driest. Meanwhile, above-average precipitation caused Alaska to have its fourth-wettest year on record.
Drought coverage across the contiguous U.S. remained significant for the second year in a row, with a minimum extent of 44% occurring on Sept. 6 and a maximum coverage of 63% on Oct. 25 — the largest contiguous U.S. footprint since the drought of 2012.
In the Western U.S., drought conditions reached a peak coverage of 91.3% of the region on May 3. Drought coverage across the West shrank as the summer monsoon reduced some of the coverage in the Southwest.
The multi-year Western U.S. drought resulted in water stress/shortages across many locations in 2022 as some major reservoirs dropped to their lowest levels on record.
Last year’s 18 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters led to the deaths of at least 474 people.
The number of events put 2022 in third place (tied with 2011 and 2017) for the highest number of disasters recorded in a calendar year, behind 2021 — with 20 events — and 2020, with a record 22 separate billion-dollar events.
Hurricane Ian was the most costly event of 2022 at $112.9 billion, and ranks as the third most costly hurricane on record (since 1980) for the U.S., behind Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Hurricane Harvey (2017).
Over the last seven years (2016-2022), 122 separate billion-dollar disasters have killed at least 5,000 people, with a total cost of more than $1 trillion in damages. Five of the last six years (2017-2022, with 2019 being the exception) have each had a price tag of at least $100 billion.