Five Facts on Weather Disasters in the US

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Hurricane Ida and its aftermath have exposed the need for infrastructure upgrades of the sort provided for in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes billions in funding to build more resilience into our coastlines, our power grid and our communities against major storms, wildfires, and drought. Here are five facts on weather and climate disasters in America.

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1.         Since 2018, more than 50 severe weather events have caused losses exceeding $1 billion.

In 2020 alone, there were 22 such disasters. The infrastructure bill includes $1 billion for a FEMA program that helps communities take action to prepare for extreme weather before it strikes.

2.         Severe weather events resulted in 262 deaths in 2020.

Hurricane Ida has already been responsible for more than 60 deaths. FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance program would receive $3.5 billion over five years under the bill.

3.         The entirety of seven Western states are currently under drought conditions.

Nearly 80 large fires that are burning this week have burned more than 1.9 million acres. The 2020 wildfire season caused nearly $20 billion in damages and at least 47 deaths.

4.         Since 1980, weather and climate disasters have caused nearly $2 trillion in damages in the U.S.

This number has been rising over time. A 2°C rise in average temperatures could ultimately result $4.2 trillion in damage to global infrastructure. The bill would fund research aimed at improving the understanding of the threats and impact of extreme weather.

5.         New York City experienced more rainfall in one hour in the wake of Hurricane Ida than Chicago averages in an entire month.

Nonetheless, storm water remediation is not a significant part of New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $54 billion capital plan. The bill would devote $8.7 billion for state and local assessments and projects to reduce the vulnerability of transportation assets to natural disasters.

No Labels is an organization of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working to bring American leaders together to solve problems.

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