Earth Was Hit By 29 Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters in 2017

January 24, 2018, 6:15 PM EST

Above: Karlian Mercado, 7, rests on the rubble that remains of her family's home after it was blown away by Hurricane Maria on September 24, 2017 in Hayales de Coamo, Puerto Rico. Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Earth had its costliest year on record for weather-related natural disasters, with 29 events reaching the billion-dollar mark, said insurance broker Aon Benfield in their Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight: 2017 Annual Report, issued January 24. This is the sixth largest number of such disasters (adjusting for inflation) since Aon Benfield began record keeping in 1990. The annual average of billion-dollar weather disasters is 22 since 1990 (see Figure 2 below); the highest number was 41, in 2013 and in 2010.

The U.S. had the most billion-dollar weather disasters of any country, with 16 included on the Aon Benfield list. China came in second, with four. NOAA also tallied 16 U.S. billion-dollar weather disasters, which tied 2011 for the most on record in a single year.

Highlights of the 2017 Aon Benfield report on global catastrophes
Figure 1. Highlights of the Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight: 2017 Annual Report. Image credit: Aon Benfield.

The combined economic losses (insured and uninsured) from all 330 weather and earthquake disasters catalogued by Aon Benfield in 2017 was $353 billion (USD), which is 93% above the 17-year inflation-adjusted average of $183 billion. The great bulk of the 2017 total came from weather-related disasters, which produced $344 billion in damage, higher than the previous record for weather-related disasters of $294 billion in 2005. Significantly, three of the five most expensive weather disasters in world history occurred in 2017. Pulling stats from Aon Benfield and NOAA, the list of top-five most expensive weather disasters in world history (2017 dollars) now looks like this:

1) Hurricane Katrina (2005), $161 billion
2) Hurricane Harvey (2017), $100 billion
3) Hurricane Sandy (2012), $70 billion
4) Hurricane Maria (2017), $65 billion
5) Hurricane Irma (2017), $55 billion

NOAA's damage totals for Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Maria were $125, $90, and $50 billion respectively. Each of these NOAA values includes an uncertainty range that encompasses the Aon Benfield numbers shown above.

Fatalities: Natural disasters (including earthquakes) killed approximately 10,000 people in 2017, substantially lower than the 2001-2016 average of about 71,000 fatalities per year. The deadliest weather disaster of 2017 was a flood-driven landslide in Sierra Leone that killed more than 1,100 people (though total indirect deaths in Puerto Rico alone from Hurricane Maria have been estimated at over 1,000). The costliest weather-related disaster of the year was Hurricane Harvey, with its $100 billion price tag topped only by Hurricane Katrina.

Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurance firm, put global losses from natural disasters at $330 billion in 2017, compared to $175 billion in 2016. Only the record year of 2011, with losses of $350 billion, due mainly to the Tohoku earthquake and floods in Thailand, had higher loss figures. Roughly 93% of all events worldwide in 2017 were weather-related disasters, at a cost of $320 billion. This made 2017 the costliest year ever in terms of global weather disasters. Munich Re put global losses from Hurricane Harvey at $85 billion, Hurricane Maria at $63 billion, and Hurricane Irma at $67 billion.

Figure 2. The yearly number of billion-dollar global weather disasters, adjusted for inflation, as compiled by insurance broker Aon Benfield in their Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Reports. The increasing trend in weather disaster losses is largely due to increases in wealth and population and to people moving to more vulnerable areas--though the studies attempting to correct damage losses for these factors are highly uncertain. Climate change may also be partly to blame for the rise in disaster losses. We discussed this topic in more detail in a 2012 post, Damage Losses and Climate Change.

At least three nations see their costliest weather disasters in history

By comparing the Aon Benfield numbers to historical disaster costs at EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, we see that at least three nations set records for their all-time most expensive weather-related disaster in 2017. For comparison, four nations had their most expensive weather-related natural disasters in history in 2016, and nine did so in 2015. Note that a number of islands in the Caribbean which are not independent countries—Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Saint-Barthelemy—also had their most expensive disasters in history. Here are the nations that set records in 2017 for their most expensive weather-related disaster in history:

Cuba suffered $13 billion in damage (15% of GDP) after being hit by Category 5 Hurricane Irma. This dwarfs the previous most expensive disaster in Cuban history, the $2.6 billion in damage from 2016's Hurricane Matthew.

Peru suffered $3.1 billion in damage (1.3% of GDP) from floods in March. According to EM-DAT, the international disaster database, the previous most expensive natural disaster in Peruvian history occurred during the El Niño rains of 1983, when heavy rains unleashed a landslide that killed 596 people and cost $2.4 billion in 2017 dollars (8.1% of Peru’s GDP).

Dominica suffered $1.35 billion in damage (a stunning 260% of GDP) from Hurricane Maria. This beats the $500 million cost of flood damage from Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 as their most expensive disaster on record.

Aon Benfield’s tally of billion-dollar weather disasters globally for 2017

Hurricane Harvey, U.S., 8/25 – 9/2, $100 billion, 84 killed
Hurricane Maria, Caribbean, 9/18 – 9/21, $65 billion, 98+ killed
Hurricane Irma, Caribbean/Bahamas/SE U.S., 9/5 – 9/12, $55 billion, 124 killed
Wildfires, U.S. (California), 10/8 – 10/30, $13 billion, 43 killed
Flooding, China, 6/22 – 7/5, $7.5 billion, 141 killed
Drought, Southern Europe, 1/1 – 7/31, $6.6 billion, 0 killed
Flooding, China, 7/13 – 7/17, $4.5 billion, 20 killed
Typhoon Hato, Macau/Hong Kong/China, 8/23 – 8/25, $3.5 billion, 22 killed
Severe Weather, U.S. Rockies/Plains, 5/8 – 5/11, $3.4 billion, 0 killed
Wildfires, U.S. (Southern California), 12/3 – 12/31, $3.225 billion, 2 killed
Flooding, Peru, 1/1 – 4/1, $3.15 billion, 120 killed
Winter Weather, Europe, 4/19 - 4/25, $3.08 billion, 0 killed
Severe Weather, U.S. Plains/Southeast/Midwest, 3/26 – 3/28, $2.7 billion, 0 killed
Drought, U.S. Plains/Rockies, 3/1 – 9/30, $2.5 billion, 0 killed
Drought, China, 5/1 – 8/31, $2.5 billion, 0 killed
Tropical Cyclone Debbie, Australia, 3/27 – 4/5, $2.4 billion, 14 killed
Severe Weather, U.S. Midwest, 6/11, $2.4 billion, 0 killed
Severe Weather, U.S. Midwest/Plains/Southeast, 3/6 – 3/10, $2.2 billion, 0 killed
Severe Weather, U.S. Midwest/Plains/Southeast/MS Valley, 4/28 – 5/01, $2.0 billion, 20 killed
Wildfires, U.S. West, 6/1 – 9/30, $2.0 billion, 0 killed
Typhoon Lan, Japan/Philippines, 10/18 – 10/23, $2.0 billion, 17 killed
Drought, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, 1/1 – 3/31, $1.9 billion, hundreds killed
Severe Weather, U.S. South, 2/27 - 3/2, $1.9 billion, 4 killed
Severe Weather, U.S. Plains/Midwest/Northeast, 6/27 – 6/30, $1.55 billion, 0 killed
Severe Weather, U.S. South, 1/18 - 1/23, $1.3 billion, 21 killed
Tropical Storm Nanmadol, Japan, 7/4 – 7/6, $1.2 billion, 37 killed
Winter Weather, U.S. Plains/Midwest/Southeast/Northeast, 3/13 – 3/14, $1.1 billion, 11 killed
Severe Weather, U.S. Plains/Rockies, 6/12 – 6/14, $1.0 billion, 0 killed
Typhoon Damrey, Vietnam, Philippines, 11/1 – 11/8, $1.0 billion, 114 killed

Drought in Somali
Multi-Month Billion-Dollar Drought Disaster 1. A multi-year drought that has gripped Eastern Africa since the second half of 2015 intensified in January through March of 2017. After the “long rains” of the main March - June rainy season were deficient in 2016, the important “short” rains of October - November 2016 essentially failed, causing crop failures and severe food shortages. Based on the levels of U.N. appeals for aid, insurance broker Aon Benfield estimated damages from the drought at $1.9 billion; $825 million of that total was in Somalia, and $945 million was in Ethiopia. During March, at least 136 people died of hunger in Somalia due to the drought, according to the International Business Times, and hundreds more died in a cholera outbreak during 2017. In this image, we see a boy looking at dead goats in a dry land close to Dhahar in Puntland, northeastern Somalia, on December 15, 2016. Drought in the region severely affected livestock for local herdsmen. Image credit: ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images.
Multi-Month Billion-Dollar Drought Disaster 2. Extreme drought caused extensive impacts to agriculture in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana in the summer and fall of 2017. Field crops including wheat were severely damaged, and the lack of feed for cattle forced ranchers to sell off livestock. Total damages were estimated at $2.5 billion. Above: drought conditions over the Northern Plains on August 29, 2017. Image credit: U.S. Drought Monitor.
Drought in Italy
Multi-Month Billion-Dollar Drought Disaster 3. Exceptional drought affected vast swathes of Italy, particularly the southern half, through the first half of 2017, resulting in $2.3 billion in agricultural losses. Addtional losses from other drought-stricken regions of Southern Europe during 2017 brought the total cost of the drought to $6.6 billion. In this image, we see pedestrians fill their bottles with water from a 'Nasone' (Big nose) typical Roman fountain in front of The Pantheon in central Rome on July 28, 2017. Two years of lower-than-average rainfall in Rome has forced Rome to close fountains and consider the prospect of water rationing. Image credit: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images.
China drought
Multi-Month Billion-Dollar Drought Disaster 4. Drought conditions in China during the summer of 2017 cost at least $2.5 billion in damages. Above: This photo taken on July 24, 2017 shows boats sitting in the dried-up bottom of the Mihe river in Weifang in China's eastern Shandong province. Once used for leisure activities, the river has dried up due to drought over the past few years and is now used by locals for grazing horses, sheep and cattle. Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images.
Wildfire smoke
Multi-month Wildfire Disaster 1. Numerous wildfires across many western and northwestern states burned over 8.4 million acres and hundreds of homes through the end of September, with over 1 million acres burning in Montana alone. Damages were estimated at $2 billion. Above: Smoke from wildfires in the Northwest U.S. on September 5, 2017, as seen from the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi satellite. Image credit: NASA.
Tornado damage
January Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. A destructive tornado outbreak in the southern U.S. on January 18 - 23 killed 21 people and did $1.3 billion in damage. At least 79 tornadoes touched down between January 21 - 23, with three of them being rated EF3. These three EF3s were responsible for 20 of the 21 deaths in the outbreak. The deadliest tornado hit Adel, Georgia, killing 11 people. In this image, we see the William Carey University's School of Business on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, after it was damaged by a pre-dawn EF3 tornado that moved through Hattiesburg, MS, killing 4 people. Image credit: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis.
Flooding in Peru
March Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. Extreme rainfall atop normally dry terrain in Peru during February and March caused multiple rounds of major flooding. The death toll of 120 makes the floods Peru’s deadliest since 2009 - 2010, when 158 people died in flooding between December and March. Damage was estimated at $3.1 billion (1.3% of Peru’s GDP). Peru’s president said that the total costs of reconstruction over a five-year period could hit $9 billion. Significant damage was done to Peru’s infrastructure, with over 6000 miles of roads and 194 bridges destroyed. According to EM-DAT, the international disaster database, the previous most expensive natural disaster in Peruvian history occurred during the El Niño rains of 1983, when heavy rains unleashed a landslide that killed 596 people and cost $2.4 billion in 2017 dollars (8.1% of Peru’s GDP). The El Niño rains of 1997 -1998 also exacted a heavy toll; the GFDRR estimated that Peru suffered nearly $2 billion in losses (5.9% of GDP). Above: the Huachipa district, east of Lima, Peru, on March 19, 2017. Flash floods and landslides hit parts of Lima, where most of the water distribution systems collapsed and caused severe drinking water shortages. Photo credit: ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP/Getty Images.
March 7 tornado
March Billion-Dollar Disaster 2. An outbreak of severe weather swept across central sections of the United States on March 6 - 10, causing $2.1 billion in tornado, wind, and hail damage in Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Illinois. Strong gusty winds in the aftermath of the storm led to widespread damage in parts of the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, causing the largest power outage in Michigan’s history--more than one million customers. Above, we see Ashley Strother, left, hugging her aunt Brenda Johnson among the wreckage of Johnson's house in Oak Grove, Missouri, on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, after an EF3 tornado moved through the area. Image credit; Allison Long /The Kansas City Star via AP.
February 28 tornado
March Billion-Dollar Disaster 3. A severe weather outbreak hit the U.S. Midwest, Ohio Valley and Tennessee Valley on February 27 – March 2, killing four and causing $1.9 billion in damage. The outbreak spawned three EF3 tornadoes and one EF4—one of only two EF4s recorded in 2017. Above: this large EF3 tornado was photographed at 5:36 pm CST Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, by associate meteorology professor Walker Ashley (Northern Illinois University) as it passed just northwest of Washburn, IL. Image credit: (c) Walker Ashley.
Winter Storm Stella in Boston
March Billion-Dollar Disaster 4. A powerful late season Nor’easter (“Stella”) brought blizzard conditions to the Northeast United States from March 13 - 15, killing at least 11 people. Heavy snow and sub-freezing temperatures hit the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and the Deep South, causing more than 7000 flight cancellations and numerous school and business closures. Damages were estimated at $1 billion, mostly due to crop losses from a hard freeze in the Southeast. Above: people struggle to walk in the blowing snow during Winter Storm Stella on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in Boston (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer.)
March Billion-Dollar Disaster 5. An outbreak of severe weather that swept across the Plains, Southeast and Midwest portions of the United States on March 26 – 28 caused $2.75 billion in damage. Among the hardest-hit areas were Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, due to softball-sized hail. Isolated tornadoes and straight-line winds also caused damage. Fortunately, no lives were lost. Above, we see a 3” diameter hailstone captured by damage expert Tim Marshall (Haig Engineering) from the storm that struck Double Oak, Corinth, The Colony, and Frisco, TX, just north of Marshall’s house, on March 26, 2017. “Looks like I’ll be booked evaluating the damage through at least mid-summer,” said Marshall. “Spring has roared in like a lion.” Image credit: (c) Tim Marshall, used with permission.
Frost damage at a winery in Bordeaux, France, spring 2017
April Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. A late-season cold blast pushed temperatures toward the freezing point during the week of April 19-25 across parts of western Europe, including some of France’s most famous wine-making regions. Between frost damage and other weather impacts, France ended up with its smallest wine crop since 1957. Damage to the agricultural sector across western Europe from April’s winter-like blast was just over $3 billion. Above: A French wine grower checks his vineyards partially destroyed by the frost of late April in Vignonet, Bordeaux, on May 3, 2017. Image credit: Nicholas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images.
Canton, Texas tornado damage
April Billion-Dollar Disaster 2.  A complex storm system brought severe weather, blizzard conditions, and flooding to the U.S. Midwest, Plains, Southeast, and Mississippi Valley on April 28 – May 1, killing twenty and causing $2 billion in damage. Significant flooding hit the Mississippi River basin, particularly in Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois and Arkansas. Major hail, straight-line wind and tornado damage was observed in multiple states. Two especially strong long-track tornadoes (an EF4 and EF3) struck near Canton, Texas on April 29, killing four. The EF4 was one of only two EF4s recorded in the U.S. in 2017. Above: Significant damage in Canton, TX, from a violent EF4 tornado on Saturday, April 29, 2017, as documented by an NWS storm survey team on Sunday, April 30. Image credit: NOAA/NWS.
Tropical Cyclone Debbie
April Billion-Dollar Disaster 3. Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit Queensland, Australia on March 28 as a Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds, killing at least 14 people. Debbie’s strong winds, torrential rains and damaging storm surge combined to cause an estimated $2.4 billion in damage through the first week of April. The remnants of Debbie later triggered flooding in portions of New Zealand. According to figures at EM-DAT, the international disaster database, Debbie was Australia’s fourth tropical cyclone since 2000 to cause at least $2 billion in damage. In this image, we see Tropical Cyclone Debbie just before landfall in Queensland, Australia, on March 28, 2017. Image credit: NASA.
Hail damage in Denver
May Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. A multi-day severe weather event on May 8 – 11 brought major hailstorms and extensive damage across parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Damage was particularly heavy in the greater Denver, CO metro region, as up to baseball-sized hail hit the western suburbs. Total damage was estimated at $3.4 billion. Above: Patrick Clark inspects his damaged car after a strong spring storm moved through the metropolitan Denver area, creating rivers of hail, on Monday afternoon, May 8, 2017. Image credit: AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda.
Hail damage
June Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. A line of severe thunderstorms known as a bow echo raced across eastern South Dakota, southern Minnesota and into Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with wind gusts of 60-80 mph and large hail on June 11, leaving multiple people injured and knocking out power to over 90,000 customers. The Minneapolis – St. Paul metro region had substantial wind and hail damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles. Total economic losses were $2 billion. Above, we see Peonies before and after the June 11, 2017 hailstorm, north of St. Paul, Minnesota. Image credit: Minnesota State Climatology Office.
Severe weather outlook
June Billion-Dollar Disaster 2.  A severe weather outbreak on June 12 – 14, centered over Wyoming and Nebraska, unleashed 31 tornadoes, including four EF2s. Nobody was killed, and damage was estimated at $1 billion. Above: WU depiction of NOAA/SPC severe weather outlook for Monday, June 12, 2017; the red area corresponds to a moderate risk, the second-highest of SPC's five risk categories.
China flood
June Billion-Dollar Disaster 3. The most expensive non-U.S. weather disaster of 2017 was flooding in China's Yangtze River basin that killed 141 people in late June and early July, with a $7.5 billion price tag. In this image, we see an aerial view of a flooded street in Changsha, Hunan province, on July 2, 2017. Days of torrential rain in Hunan province raised the water level of the Xiangjiang River to exceed its record flood level. Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images.
Rain stats
June Billion-Dollar Disaster 4. Severe thunderstorms swept across multiple sections of the United States from June 25 - 29, causing widespread damage resulting from tornadoes, straight-line winds, large hail and flooding rainfall. The worst impacts occurred from June 27 - 30 as a slow-moving storm system led to consecutive days of convective weather across the Plains and Midwest. Total damage was $1.55 billion. Above: tweet from the NWS in Kansas City on the late June flooding in their region.
China flood
July Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. Flooding in nine southern Chinese provinces from July 13 to 17, caused by thunderstorms associated with seasonal Mei-yu rains, killed 20 and damaged or destroyed more than 58,000 homes, causing $4.5 billion in damage. Above: A woman tries to cross a flooded street after a heavy rain in Shenyang, Liaoning province on July 14, 2017. Image credit: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images.
Tropical Storm Nanmadol damage
July Billion-Dollar Disaster 2. Heavy flooding occurred in Japan following the July 4 landfall of Tropical Storm Nanmadol, augmented by a lingering frontal boundary that spawned prolific rainfall. More than 2600 homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed as extensive flooding and landslides affected Fukuoka, Oita, Shimane, Kumamoto, and Hiroshima prefectures. Total economic losses were expected to near $1 billion, and 37 lives were lost. In this image, we see workers remove a section of roof from the roadside, blown over by strong winds generated by Nanmadol in the city of Kumamoto on Kyushu island on July 4, 2017. Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images.
Harvey flood
August Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas as a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds on August 25, then stalled over Houston for three days, dumping over 50” of rain. The storm then drifted out to sea, and made another landfall near Beaumont, Texas, dumping catastrophic rains of more than 25 inches in 24 hours, and a total rainfall amount in excess of 60” at two locations near Port Arthur. Harvey caused $90 billion in damage, and was being blamed for at least 84 deaths. Above: People walk down a flooded street as they evacuate their homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.
Typhoon Hato flood
August Billion-Dollar Disaster 2. Typhoon Hato hit Macau, Hong Kong, and Mainland China on August 23 as a Category 3 storm. The typhoon did $3.5 billion in damage and killed 22 people. In this image, we see a flooded playground in Hong Kong after Typhoon Hato hit on August 23, 2017. Image credit: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images.
September Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. Hurricane Irma hit multiple islands in the Caribbean in early September as a Category 5 hurricane with 185 mph winds, causing catastrophic damage. Irma caused $25 billion in damage to the mainland U.S., and $30 billion in damage in the Caribbean. Irma was being blamed for at least 124 deaths. Above: An aerial photograph taken and released by the Netherlands Ministry of Defence on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Image credit: Gerben Van Es/AFP/Getty Images.
Maria damage
September Billion-Dollar Disaster 2. Hurricane Maria hit the island of Dominica in the Caribbean on September 19 as a Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph winds, then powered through the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a top-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds, causing catastrophic damage. Maria caused at least $60 billion in damage, and was being blamed for at least 98 deaths. However, several analyses have shown that the indirect death toll in Puerto Rico alone may have been more than 1,000. Above: A thoroughly destroyed house in El Negro, Puerto Rico, near where the eye of Maria made landfall. Image credit: AP/Carlos Giusti.
California fires
October Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. Dry “diablo” winds fanned a massive wildfire outbreak of over 20 fires in portions of California during early October, which killed 43 people and injured 185. This death toll surpasses the Griffith Fire in Los Angeles on October 3, 1933 (29 killed) as the deadliest fire in California history, and makes it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in 99 years. The last-deadlier U.S. wildfire was the Cloquet, Minnesota fire of October 12, 1918, which killed over 400 people. CalFire reported that more than 8,560 structures were destroyed. Insured damage was $9.4 billion, with overall economic losses even higher. This is the costliest wildfire for insured damage in world history, beating the $3.0 billion cost (2017 dollars) of the 1991 Oakland, California fire. Above: firefighters assess the scene as a house burns in the Napa wine region of California on October 9, 2017. Image credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images.
Typhoon Lan
October Billion-Dollar Disaster 2. Super Typhoon Lan peaked as a top-end Category 4 typhoon with 155-mph winds east of the Philippines before weakening and hitting Japan on October 23 as a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds. Lan's torrential rains triggered flooding and landslides that killed nine in the Philippines and eight in Japan. Lan damaged 6,200 homes in Japan and 1,100 in the Philippines, causing $1 billion in damage. Above: Super Typhoon Lan at peak intensity as seen by the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi satellite on October 21, 2017.
Damrey damage
November Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. Typhoon Damrey made landfall in southern Vietnam on November 4 as a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds. Damrey killed 114, left 6 missing, and injured 364, making it the deadliest weather disaster of November. Damrey destroyed at least 3,560 homes and damaged nearly 300,000 more, costing $1 billion. According to EM-DAT, this is Vietnam’s first billion-dollar typhoon. This year marks the first time since 1993 in which Vietnam has had a season with a Category 2 (Damrey) and a Category 3 (Doksuri) landfall. Above: A fishing boat pushed ashore in the central province of Binh Dinh as seen on November 4, 2017, after Typhoon Damrey hit Vietnam. Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images.
December Billion-Dollar Disaster 1. The largest wildfire in California history, the Thomas Fire, erupted on December 6, as powerful Santa Ana winds fanned the blaze. Wildfires in Southern California during December killed 2 and caused at least $1 billion in damage. Above: Firefighters monitor a section of the Thomas Fire along U.S. Highway 101 northwest of Ventura, California, in the predawn hours on Thursday, December 7, 2017. Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Bob Henson contributed to this post.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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Dr. Jeff Masters

Dr. Jeff Masters co-founded Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. in air pollution meteorology at the University of Michigan. He worked for the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990 as a flight meteorologist.

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