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USA - US hit with 18 billion-dollar disasters so far this year

The United States saw an unprecedented 18 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the first nine months of the year, according to scientists with NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.

Not only was September 2021 quite warm, but it also brought with it devastating impacts from four of the 18 disasters: flooding from Hurricane Ida, landfall of Hurricane Nicholas, and ongoing drought and wildfires tormenting communities in the West.

Below follow highlights from NOAA's September U.S. climate report:

September 2021

The average September temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 67.8 degrees F—3.0 degrees above the 20th-century average—making it the fifth-warmest September in the 127-year climate record.

Colorado and Rhode Island had a September that ranked third warmest on record, while California, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming logged a top-five warmest September.

The average precipitation last month was 2.33 inches (0.16 of an inch below average), which ranked in the middle third of the climate record.

Some extremes included Oklahoma, which had its ninth-driest September, as well as Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, which saw their seventh- and eighth-wettest Septembers on record respectively, due to the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

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U.S. hit with 18 billion-dollar disasters so far this year
A map of the United States plotted with 18 weather and climate disasters each costing $1 billion or more that occurred between January and September 30, 2021. Credit: NOAA Headquarters

Year to date | January through September 2021

The year-to-date average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 57.0 degrees F—1.9 degrees above average—making it the 10th-warmest YTD on record. Maine had its second-warmest YTD, while California ranked third warmest on record.

Looking at the year so far, the average precipitation total was 23.58 inches (0.38 of an inch above average) and ranked in the middle third of the record.

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