NEW YORK CITY- MAY 12: Usually one of the most congested streets in Manhattan, 42nd Street stands nearly empty on May 12, 2020 in New York City. Across America, people are reeling from the loss of jobs and incomes as unemployment soars to historical levels following the COVID-19 outbreak. While some states are beginning to re-open slowly, many business are struggling to find a profit with the new restrictions and a population that is fearful of the contagious virus.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
How the pandemic did (or didn't) impact carbon emissions
03:56 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

2020 will be remembered for many unpleasant reasons – the global pandemic, political unrest, sky-high unemployment – and now we can add a record number of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters to the list.

An astonishing 22 separate weather and climate disasters costing over $1 billion each occurred in the US in 2020, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Friday.

This shatters the annual record of 16 costly disasters in both 2011 and 2017.

billion-dollar disasters 2020

“This is the sixth year in a row that the US has experienced 10 or more separate billion-dollar disasters,” NOAA climatologist Adam Smith told CNN Weather. Ten disasters has become the more recent standard of what to expect in a year, he added.

“To more than double (the number of events) at 22 and then have six more than the previous record is pretty extreme,” Smith said.

Making up this costly list are a record-setting seven tropical cyclone events and 13 severe storm events, along with a drought and a wildfire event.

The cost of disasters is estimated using data from insured and uninsured losses and covers the private and public sectors.

The cost last year was double the average

The cumulative cost of these disasters in 2020 is $95 billion, the fourth-highest total annual cost since 1980, behind 2017, 2005 and 2012 (all inflation-adjusted to 2020 dollars).

“This is more than double the 41-year average annual cost,” Smith said.

The costliest event of 2020 was Hurricane Laura, racking up $19 billion in damage, followed by the historic Western wildfires at $16.5 billion and the August derecho through the Midwest, totaling $11 billion in damage.

2020 brings