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2021 Weather Disasters in the Billions of Dollars


The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences issued it's Global Environmental Health Newsletter and stated that July 2021 was the world’s hottest month ever recorded, marking a significant milestone for climate change. That month, the global surface temperature reached 1.67 degrees Fahrenheit (0.93 degrees Celsius) above the century average. The Pacific Northwest region in the U.S. and Canada, Eastern Europe, Northeast China, and Japan experienced record-breaking heat. In the contiguous U.S., the summer of 2021 slightly surpassed the 1936 Dust Bowl Summer as the hottest on record.


The report also states that the effects of climate change are leading to “unprecedented” changes across the climate system, impacting temperature, precipitation, sea level, and ocean acidity. At 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, Earth will experience increased heat waves, longer warm seasons, and shorter cold seasons. At 2 degrees Celsius, a warmer planet could surpass thresholds sustaining human health and agriculture.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, " in 2021, there were 20 weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each to affect the United States. These events included 1 drought event, 2 flooding events, 11 severe storm events, 4 tropical cyclone events, 1 wildfire event, and 1 winter storm event. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 688 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted."


In 2021 there were 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate-related disasters, just two events shy of the record set in 2020.

Interesting US weather facts for 2021:

  • Most of the contiguous U.S. experienced above-average temperatures during 2021

  • Maine and New Hampshire both had their second-warmest year on record

  • A record-warm December across the contiguous U.S.

  • Alaska experienced the coldest year since 2012

  • Denver had its fourth-largest snowstorm on record

  • Tucson, AZ, reported its wettest July and month on record followed by its wettest August on record

  • It was the wettest year since 2015 for the state of Alaska

  • 20 weather events had losses exceeding $1 billion each across the U.S.

  • The U.S. disaster costs for 2021 exceeded $145 billion, which is the third-highest cost on record.

  • Disasters in 2021 caused more than twice the number of fatalities as all the events that occurred in 2020

  • 21 named storms formed in the North Atlantic Basin

  • The second-largest fire in California history, the Dixie Fire, consumed nearly 964,000 acres

  • February 16, snow covered 73.2 percent of the contiguous U.S — the highest daily value in the historical record

  • 93 December tornadoes were confirmed, the greatest number of tornadoes for any December on record and nearly twice the previous record.


In NOAA climatology 2021 report it stated that "In recent years there has been an increasing exposure and vulnerability of the U.S. to extreme weather and climate events. The disaster costs for 2021 ($145.0 billion) well surpassed the disaster costs for 2020 ($102.0 billion, inflation-adjusted to 2021 dollars). The total costs for the last five years ($742.1 billion) is more than one-third of the disaster cost total of the last 42-years (1980-2021) at $2.155 trillion (inflation-adjusted to 2021 dollars). This reflects a 5-year cost average of nearly $148.4 billion/year — a new record."

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