Tropical cyclones have done the most monetary damage compared to other natural disasters in the U.S. since 1980, according to a study by NOAA. Over nearly 40 years, cyclones have caused about $920 billion in damage. While tropical cyclones, made up about 17 percent of all natural disasters during that time period, they hit with the most force. In the past two years alone, the U.S. has been hit with 6 separate billion-dollar cyclones.
Droughts did the second most monetary damage, causing about $244 billion in damage over the same time frame. These dry conditions can often set the stage for devastating wildfires, which the West was plagued by in 2018. Wildfires have caused $79 billion in damage over the course of nearly 4 decades. Of that $79 billion, $40 billion or over half, of that damage has been done in the past two years alone. The past 37 years of wildfire damage (1980 to 2016) is roughly equal to the past two years of wildfire devastation.
This chart shows the billion-dollar events to affect the U.S. from 1980 to 2018.
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