Just a few months ago, experts pointed to 2016 as a record-breaking year for natural disasters and corresponding economic damages. But a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that 2017 blew all other years out of the water — literally. Fifteen major natural disasters ranging from floods and wildfires to deep freezes and tornadoes exceeded $1 billion in weather-related costs and damages. This includes a record three Category 4+ hurricane landfalls.
NOAA calculated cost estimates to include both insured and uninsured losses for the major events that occurred throughout 2017. The numbers tell an alarming tale showing how just one tornado or deep freeze can impact the economy by millions. Ranked from terrible to downright unimaginable, here are the 15 most expensive — and most deadly — natural disasters of 2017. How many of these do you remember?
15. Southeast freeze in March 2017
- Total estimated cost: $1 billion
- Death toll: 0 deaths
A severe freeze damaged fruit crops across several southeastern states from Virginia to the Carolinas, and Alabama. Unseasonable warm temps just weeks earlier caused crops to bloom early. But the freezing temps meant Georgia and South Carolina took the brunt of the hit with widespread impact on peaches, blueberries, strawberries and apples. NOAA reports agricultural woes contributed to a sizeable chunk of the $1 billion in damages.
Next: This weather event broke records from the 1950’s.