US hits record for costly weather disasters: $306 billion

The total cost of damages blew past the previous record of $215 billion in 2005.

This enhanced satellite image made available by the NOAA GOES Project shows Irma, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 at 1:45 p.m. In the wake of Harvey, meteorologists are already looking warily at another system: Hurricane Irma, which intensified from a tropical storm to a major hurricane in just 30 hours, is steadily moving west across the Atlantic. It’s still several days away from the nearest land just south of Puerto Rico. (NASA/NOAA via AP)

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.