Coastwide
A map of the U.S. plotted with all 16 billion-dollar disasters experienced in 2020 through September. For more details, please visit www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions. via NOAA

USA - U.S. Hit by 16 Billion-Dollar Disasters This Year, So Far

September 2020 saw multiple hurricanes and tropical storms, destructive fires, record heat

September will be remembered as a month of extremes: Historic wildfires burned across the West, unprecedented tropical activity churned up the Atlantic, and parts of the country saw record heat.

What’s more, the first nine months of 2020 brought a record-tying 16 billion-dollar weather disasters to the nation, according to scientists with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Six of those events —  western wildfires, a Western/Central U.S. drought and heatwave, Hurricane Sally, Hurricane Laura, the Midwest derecho and Hurricane Isaias — have all occurred since June.

Here are the climate highlights for September and 2020 to date:

Climate by the numbers

September 2020

The average September temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 66.0 degrees F — 1.1 degrees above average — which fell into the warmest third in the 126-year record. While parts of the country saw cooler-than-average temperatures, including the Plains and Deep South, much of the West was steamy.

California and Oregon saw their hottest September on record; Arizona and Nevada had their second hottest.    

The average precipitation last month was 2.38 inches (0.11 of an inch below average), which ranked in the middle third of the record. Some locations did see a wetter-than-normal September, including the Deep South and Southeast, due mainly to Tropical Storm Beta and Hurricane Sally. In fact, Georgia has its ninth-wettest September on record.

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