Why was 2017 a hot and disaster-filled year?

2017 was a year filled with extreme weather and climate disasters across the United States, breaking a record of $306 billion in damages, making it he costliest year on record according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Did you find 2017 to be hotter than usual? You were not the only one breaking a sweat! Last year was also the 21st consecutive year that the average annual temperature exceeded the average, placing it in the middle of the nation’s top five hottest years since 1895 when NOAA began recording our annual temperature data.

The year 2017 included floods, tornadoes, drought, wildfires, hurricanes, freezes and other storms- some with a price tag exceeding $1 billion in damages each- causing it to be the most expensive year so far, surpassing the previous record cost of $214.8 billion in 2005 (after a year with Hurricanes Rita, Wilma, Dennis and Katrina).

California was able to break free from the drought and help contribute to the country’s 20th wettest year on record and the fifth year in a row for above-average precipitation. However, drought-free California came with a price, December became the ninth-driest month on record and the massive amounts of dead plant life from our previously wet year provided more fuel for wildfires which cost $18 billion, tripling the cost of the previous wildfire record from 1991.

Prepare yourself because this is hardly over! With Earth’s expedited warming (a rate 20-50 times faster than the rate of natural global warming) and temperatures breaking records, scientists are worried about the future of disasters and the risks associated of us living in cities along coasts, rivers and other high-risk zones.