2023 breaks record for most billion dollar disasters

2023 breaks record for most billion dollar disasters
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 3:51 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced yesterday that 2023 now holds the record for most billion-dollar disasters in a year.

“It’s just the way the weather’s going. But we need to be prepared, and unfortunately, that means adding resources,” said Emily Fay of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management.

The National Centers for Environmental Information are in charge of reporting these statistics, clarifying any damaging weather event that causes more than a billion dollars in direct losses.

Eight new disasters were added by the end of August, including the Maui Wildfires and Hurricanes Hilary and Idalia. This year’s disasters have so far cost more than $57.6 billion and killed 253 people.

“There are always disasters, and disasters are expensive,” Fay said. “Emergency management at state, national and even local level municipalities basically everybody needs as much help as they can get, because as we have noticed, given the last 20 years, natural disasters and severe weather events have been rising in occurrence.”

Two of the events on the list directly affected Kentuckians, one being the March windstorm and the other being the severe weather and hailstorm that littered the sky at the end of june.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is additionally struggling with disaster relief funding, and just ahead of Labor Day weekend, the Biden Administration requested that an additional $16 billion be added to the disaster relief fund to help those still struggling from recent disasters in the US.

“Disaster relief funding locally usually goes through the city, and from there, they would allocate where it goes in general. So whether that be for individual help or local departments or emergency management bringing in outside help, that’s where that would go,” said Fay.

The severe thunderstorms that brought widespread wind and hail damage in early July mark the 5th billion dollar weather disaster in the past two years. Before that, the most recent billion-dollar disaster was in March of 2017.

“We can’t control Mother Nature - she is a woman unto herself. However, we can be prepared for what she throws at us. So having an emergency kit, having an emergency plan will leave you better prepared for when mother nature acts up.”

For information on emergency preparedness kits and how best to manage your home both before and after weather disasters, visit the Division of Emergency Management’s website at bereadylexington.com