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Earth’s 39 billion-dollar weather disasters of 2018: 4th-costliest on record

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Desdemona Despair

By Dr. Jeff Masters
23 January 2019

(Weather Underground) – Earth was besieged by 39 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2018, the fourth-highest inflation-adjusted number of billion-dollar weather events on record, said insurance broker Aon (formerly called Aon Benfield) in their annual report issued 22 January 2019. Only 2011, with 44 billion-dollar weather disasters, and 2010 and 2013, with 41 each, had more. The annual average of billion-dollar weather disasters is 25 since 1990.

The U.S. had the most billion-dollar weather disasters in 2018 of any country, with 16. That’s their second highest total on record, behind the 20 billion-dollar weather disasters of 2017. NOAA has not yet released their final list of billion-dollar disasters for the U.S. in 2018, due to the government shutdown. China had seven billion-dollar weather disasters in 2018.

The combined economic losses (insured and uninsured) from all 394 weather and earthquake disasters catalogued by Aon in 2018 was $225 billion (2018 USD), which is 33% above the 1980 – 2017 inflation-adjusted average of $169 billion. The great bulk of the 2018 total came from weather-related disasters ($215 billion of the $225 billion).Notable records

Seven billion-dollar droughts hit Earth in 2018, the highest number on record. The previous record was six, in 1999 and 2015.  Total damages from drought in 2018 were in excess of $27 billion, the highest total since 2013.

The most expensive wildfire in world history occurred in 2018: the Camp Fire, which devastated Paradise, California, killing 86 and causing $15 billion in damage. The previous costliest fire in world history was 2017′s Wine Country fire in California, which killed 43 and did $13 billion in damage. The world’s third costliest fire in history also occurred in 2018–the Woolsey fire in Malibu/Thousand Oaks, California, which did $5.8 billion in damage. […]At least two nations see their costliest weather disasters in history

By comparing the Aon Benfield numbers to historical disaster costs at EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, we see that at least two nations set records for their all-time most expensive weather-related disaster in 2018, both of them related to a regional South American drought. For comparison, three nations had their most expensive weather-related natural disasters in history in 2017, four in 2016, and nine in 2015. Here are the nations that set records in 2018 for their most expensive weather-related disaster in history:

Argentina suffered $3.4 billion in damage (0.5% of GDP) from drought in 2018. Their previous most expensive disaster was a flood in 1985 that cost $3.1 billion (2018 dollars).

Uruguay suffered $500 million in damage (0.9% of GDP) from drought in 2018. Their previous most expensive disaster was a 1999 drought that cost $380 million (2018 dollars). [more]

Earth’s 39 Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters of 2018: 4th-Most on Record


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