2017 was costliest year on record for U.S. natural disasters

As experts in various fields complete the postmortem on a generally tumultuous year, reports indicate one of 2017’s dubious distinctions is record-high damages associated with U.S. natural disasters.

Led by an unusually active hurricane season and devastating wildfires across California, there were 16 separate disasters across the country with losses totaling $1 billion or more.

According to BBC, a total of about $306 billion in estimated damages is roughly $90 billion greater than the previous record set in 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast.

Two hurricanes hit land in the U.S. as category 4 storms during 2017, including Harvey, which was the second-costliest event on record with costs topping $125 billion. Katrina still tops the list.

Wildfires out west set their own records with $18 billion in estimated costs associated to the damage. That total is about three times the previous national record.

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