America’s nearing a record number of weather disasters, and it’s not even hurricane season yet.
New data out Friday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that there have been nine extreme weather events — each racking up more than $1 billion in losses — during the first half of 2017. An average year between 1980 and 2016 had just 5.5 major events, after adjusting for inflation.
That means we’ve already racked up more than a year’s worth of weather disasters in 2017 — the second-fastest pace in history.
Weather-wise, pretty much the whole country is a hot mess right now. In 20 states, regions experienced their warmest first half of the year on record; as of now, only Washington and Oregon are on pace for relatively normal years. There’s a smoldering drought burning up North Dakota wheat fields, rainfall in parts of Michigan and the South is 300 percent of normal over the past 30 days, and a 131-year-old heat record could fall in Los Angeles this weekend. Oh yeah, there’s also a 25,000 acre wildfire burning just outside Tucson, Arizona.
And with hurricane season running about seven weeks ahead of schedule, it’s possible the worst weather of 2017 is yet to come.