According to the National Climate Data Center’s recently released report on weather and climate disasters information, 2012 saw 11 weather and climate disaster events each with losses exceeding $1 billion in damages.
This makes 2012 the second costliest year since 1980, with a total of more than $110 billion in damages throughout the year.
The two major drivers of the damage costs in 2012 were Hurricane Sandy at approximately $65 billion and the year-long drought at approximately $30 billion. Sandy’s large size, with tropical storm force winds extending nearly 500 miles from the center, led to record storm surge, large-scale flooding, wind damage, and mass power outages along much of the East Coast.
The 2012 total damages rank only behind 2005, which incurred $160 billion in damages due in part to four devastating land-falling hurricanes.
The average temperature for the contiguous United States during the spring season (March-May) was 50.5 F — 0.5 F below the 20th century average, making it the 38th coolest spring on record, according to the center.
The May temperature for the contiguous United States was 61 F, 0.9°F above the 20th century average and the 40th warmest May on record.
The center, part of NOAA, tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts.