May tornadoes, derecho storm push weather damages past $25 billion so far this year

Last month’s devastating tornado outbreak in the southern, southeastern, and central U.S. caused $4.7 billion in damages, making it one of the deadliest and costliest weather events in the past year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The administration stated that this year has already seen 11 confirmed severe weather events, with losses exceeding $1 billion, totaling over $25 billion. States like Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida were affected by the tornado outbreak in May. The storms resulted in over 165 tornadoes and more than $1 billion in damages. In mid-May, a deadly tornado outbreak moved from Texas to Florida, killing eight people and causing over $1.2 billion in damages. The NOAA highlighted May as a “turbulent month,” with a record number of weather events occurring from March to May.

The U.S. has experienced 450 tornadoes from March to May, with the most destructive occurring in March and April. The storms have caused $5.9 billion in damages, with significant losses due to hailstorms, tornadoes, and strong winds. The NOAA predicts an active Atlantic hurricane season starting in June and lasting until November 30, with 17 to 25 named storms, 8 to 13 hurricanes, and 4 to 7 major hurricanes. The agency warns that the increased frequency and intensity of severe weather events may impact vulnerable communities economically and socially.

In 2023, the U.S. witnessed 28 severe weather events, each causing over $1 billion in losses, surpassing the previous record of 22 events in 2020. The deadliest tornado occurred in Greenfield, Iowa, on May 21, resulting in widespread devastation and claiming five lives. The NOAA anticipates a rise in extreme weather events and disasters in the coming years and is preparing for an increase in disaster response funding. FEMA’s disaster relief fund is projected to increase by $1.3 billion in August, providing essential resources for disaster response and recovery efforts.

In conclusion, the severe weather events of May have highlighted the need for increased funding and resources to address the growing challenges of natural disasters and their impacts on communities. The FEMA and Congress are working together to allocate additional funds to support disaster response and recovery efforts, ensuring the resilience of affected areas and populations.


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