Record rainfall and flooding in Japan, followed by a heat wave that sent tens of thousands of people to the hospital. Astonishing temperature records set across the planet, including sweltering weather above the Arctic Circle. Historic, lethal wildfires in Greece, Sweden and California, terrible flooding in India, a super typhoon with 165-mph winds in the Philippines, and two record-setting hurricanes that slammed the Southeast United States.

Natural disasters cost the world $155 billion this year, and several of them struck the United States particularly hard. Michael and Florence, the California wildfires and a volcanic eruption in Hawaii are all on that list, according to the Zurich-based reinsurance company Swiss Re. But it doesn’t match what happened in 2017. That was the costliest weather year in U.S. history, with more than $300 billion in damage, Woods Hole Research Center senior scientist Jennifer Francis said in an essay published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Read More.