2020 shatters record for most billion-dollar weather disasters in US; Alabama breaks record too

Several of the 22 billion-dollar disasters impacted at least parts of Alabama

2020 shatters record for most billion-dollar weather disasters in US; Alabama breaks record too
Damage from Hurricane Sally in Fort Morgan, Alabama. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - 2020 will go down as a year to be forgotten for many different reasons. One aspect of the infamous year you may not necessarily think about? Significant weather-related disasters.

The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) has completed its assessment of 2020′s weather and climate disasters, and the results are striking...

2020 saw a whopping 22 billion-dollar disasters.
2020 saw a whopping 22 billion-dollar disasters. (Source: NOAA)

A whopping 22 billion-dollar disasters impacted the United States over the course of the year.

That destroys the previous record of 16 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters set back in both 2017 and 2011. For perspective, the U.S. averages 7 such disasters per year.

It was not the most expensive year, though. 2020 ranks as the 4th-costliest year with an estimated damage toll of $95 billion.

2020 saw 22 billion-dollar disasters, which is significantly more than the previous record of 16.
2020 saw 22 billion-dollar disasters, which is significantly more than the previous record of 16. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Here’s a breakdown of the 22 disasters:

  • 13 severe thunderstorm and/or tornado events
  • 7 tropical systems
  • 1 drought
  • 1 wildfire

Of those, 15 impacted parts of the South. Alabama alone was hit by 9 of them!

That includes Hurricane Sally, Hurricane Delta, Hurricane Zeta, and six different severe weather/tornado events that occurred during the winter and spring months.

9 billion-dollar disasters hit Alabama in 2020.
9 billion-dollar disasters hit Alabama in 2020. (Source: NOAA)

It was Alabama’s highest billion-dollar disaster count ever recorded. Despite that, 2020 was only the 4th-costliest year in terms of these weather disasters behind 2004, 2005 and 2011. An estimated $5B-$10B in damage was recorded in the state.

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