Extreme weather cost US billions

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IOL pic nov18 usa illinois tornado damage Associated Press A neighbourhood in the Devonshire subdivision of Washington, Illinois, was left in ruins after a tornado tore through the northern part of the town.

Washington - Seven weather disasters, including tornadoes, droughts and floods, cost the United States more than a billion dollars each in damages last year, according to a government report issued Wednesday.

However, the number of North Atlantic hurricanes during the season - just two, Humberto and Ingrid - was the lowest in 30 years, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“The number of hurricanes and major hurricanes was well below average. The last time only two hurricanes were observed in the North Atlantic was in 1982,” NOAA said.

The tornado count for the year was below average, too, according to the annual summary from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in North Carolina.

The total of around 900 documented tornadoes for the year, marks the lowest annual count since 1989. The yearly average for tornadoes is around 1,250, the report said.

The most expensive damage of the year from tornadoes occurred in May, both in the midwest and in the northeast, followed by an Ohio-Valley tornado outbreak in November.

Other costly weather disasters included floods in Colorado and a drought accompanied by a heatwave in the western states that lasted from March to September.

Severe weather in the southeast in March and in the midwest in April were also both billion-dollar events, NOAA said.

Last year was slightly below average on a government index of the highest and lowest weather extremes, including temperature, precipitation and cyclones, the agency said.


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