top of page

Here's what 2018 may bring for natural disasters

Natural disasters including devastating hurricanes and wildfires caused $306 billion in damage in the U.S. in 2017, making it the costliest year on record. The year also painted a grim picture of how climate change could further impact the trajectory of future disasters.

“It’s very clear that things are getting worse now than they have been in the past,” said Howard Kunreuther, Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions and co-director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center. “Particularly in Houston with respect to Hurricane Harvey, a lot of the losses from these disasters are now coming from urban flooding and things that had never been on the agenda before.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there were 16 U.S. natural disasters in 2017 that caused more than $1 billion in damage each. Hurricanes caused a total of $265 billion in damage, including $125 billion from Hurricane Harvey, $90 billion for Hurricane Maria and $50 billion from Hurricane Irma. The NOAA said that 2017 was also the third-warmest year on record.


bottom of page