$306bn in one year: US bill for natural disasters smashes record

Major hurricanes, wildfires, drought and tornadoes have led to highest ever damage costs, as expert says extremes have ‘climate change fingerprints on them’

With three strong hurricanes, wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes and drought, the United States tallied a record high bill last year for weather disasters: $306bn, according to a new government report released Monday.

The US had 16 disasters last year with damage exceeding a billion dollars, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) said Monday. That ties 2011 for the number of billion-dollar disasters, but the total cost blew past the previous record of $215bn in 2005.

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