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Posted Sun Aug 7 2011: from Grist:
The new normal: billion-dollar disasters
The National Climatic Data Center's (NCDC) latest "Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters" report finds the U.S. has racked up more mega-expensive natural disasters in 2011 than ever before. So far we've suffered more than five times the huge disasters typical at this time of year. Already damage costs have reached nearly $32 billion. Compare that to the first half of the average year -- prior to the onset of "big" hurricane season -- between 1980 and 2010, where disaster costs typically run $6 billion.... All told, the U.S. has suffered 99 weather-related disasters over the past 31 years, where overall damages and economic costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. The normalized losses (that is, the numbers adjusted for the GNP inflation index) add up to more than $725 billion for those 99 disasters.
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