US hits record for costly weather disasters: $306 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — With hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, tornadoes and drought, America hit a record high bill last year for weather disasters: $306 billion.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday that the U.S. had 16 billion-dollar disasters last year. That ties 2011 for the number of billion-dollar disasters, but the total cost of damages blew past the previous record of $215 billion in 2005.

NOAA says Hurricane Harvey cost $125 billion, second only to 2005’s Katrina, while Maria cost $90 billion, ranking third. Irma was $50 billion.

The weather agency also says that 2017 was the third hottest year in U.S. records with an annual temperature of 54.6 degrees (12.6 degrees Celsius). Only 2012 and 2016 were warmer. Records go back to 1895.

(Copyright (c) 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)