The U.S. suffered 11 weather and climate disasters last year that caused more than $1 billion in damage each and killed more than 300 people, making 2012 the second-most costly and active year on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center.
Disasters including Hurricane Sandy and the drought cost an estimated $114.6 billion, according to data compiled by the center in Asheville, North Carolina. Sandy was the worst at $65 billion, while the drought’s cost was estimated at $30 billion.
“The yearlong drought, which affected more than half the country for the majority of 2012, and the associated heat waves caused over 100 direct deaths,” the agency, a unit of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, said in a statement today.
Last year ranked second in terms of cost behind 2005, with an estimated $160 billion in damage. That was the year Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast, leading to widespread destruction in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Last year was also second in the number of events causing $1 billion or more in damage, behind 2011, which had 14. The 2012 disasters included Hurricane Isaac in August, tornadoes in the Midwest and Texas, wildfires in the West and the derecho wind storm that left destruction from the Midwest to the mid- Atlantic.
Editors: Charlotte Porter, David Marino