Skip to main content

In 2023, the U.S. experienced 28 separate weather and climate disasters costing at least 1 billion dollars, the most on record.

The U.S. has sustained 387 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI, or Consumer Price Index,  adjustment to 2024). The total cost of these 387 events exceeds $2.740 trillion.

Locations of tornadoes in 2024 through June 26.

2024 in Progress

In 2024 (as of June 10), there have already been 11 confirmed weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each to affect United States.

These events included 9 severe storm events and 2 winter storm events. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 84 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted. The 1980–2023 annual average is 8.5 events (CPI-adjusted), but the annual average for the most recent 5 years (2019–2023) is 20.4 events, impacted by climate warming.

The onslaught of costly disasters so far in 2024 is concerning ahead of an expected extremely active hurricane season. Tropical storms and hurricanes often have enormous geographical impact, with extreme costs to regional economies.

The summer can also produce wildfires, droughts and heat waves, floods and additional severe storms outbreaks that carry billion-dollar price tags.


How 2024 so far compares with the past

2024 is off to a historic start. The year’s 11 billion-dollar disasters, thus far, matches the totals seen in 2020 and 2017 for second most at this point in the year. By the end of May last year, there were 14 such disasters, though those in 2024 have incurred higher costs thus far.

Why are we having so many disasters?

Climate warming increases average global temperatures, leading to warmer springs as part of overall seasonal shifts. This results in earlier onset of spring and increased moisture in the atmosphere, providing more fuel for thunderstorm development and potentially heavier rainfall and stronger storms.

Climate warming can also alter atmospheric circulation patterns, which may influence the frequency, intensity, and tracks of storm systems.

The warm weather this spring intensified the storms and also contributed to temperatures in the United States rising 2.1 degrees above the average in May, making it the 13th warmest on record. Overall, spring (March through May) ranked as the 6th warmest period on record.

May marked the 12th consecutive month where average global temperatures exceeded all records dating back to 1850. That global heat is not expected to subside this summer either. In fact, 2024 on pace to be the warmest year ever recorded.

Why there is hope

The trend of warmer weather can certainly get you down, but the CAC has tremendous hope for our future. As more people understand what climate warming means, they’re growing concerned and more open to learning what we need to do as individuals and as a society. This is especially true as they see climate warming impact their daily lives — in droughts, intense hurricanes and flood producing extreme rain events, like the one that struck Sarasota on June 11, 2024.

More and more people are supporting the CAC, enabling us to create more awareness while helping our community learn adaptation and action strategies. We are seeing more commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition towards renewable energy sources.

The CAC is committed to the local climate conversation. We do this with events like the Climate Champions Awards Ceremony, Hurricane Season Forecast Day and the upcoming Annual Climate Conference in November, that will focus on human health.

We also give climate presentations to thousands of people each year, answering their questions and helping them understand climate impacts and what they can do to make a real difference in our future.

You can support us in helping our conversation going by making a donation or becoming a member.

If you'd like to know what we're working on, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.