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Natural disasters: 2017 already one of the worst for $1 billion losses

Melted cars. Mangled homes. Shocking drone footage shows communities of ashes created by California wildfires. (Above) A hurricane dumped record rainfall on Texas, another left nearly all of Puerto Rico without electricity and intense wildfires killed more than 40 people in California — all in just the past two months. So far this year, 15 separate weather and climate disasters have each caused at least $1 billion in damages in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Initial estimates from AccuWeather put the damage from the northern California wildfires at well over $1 billion. If so, 2017 would tie 2011 for the most billion-dollar disasters, according to NOAA. And the year's not over yet. This year's devastating hurricane season is largely to blame. Hurricane Harvey will likely end up topping all of this year's disasters with an estimated price tag of $190 billion. The official death toll, now at 48, in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria could rise into the hundreds, according to a report Wednesday from Vox. Hurricane Irma ravaged the Caribbean island of Dominica as Category 5 monster, destroying most of the island's structures and leaving the infrastructure in ruins. It then took aim on the U.S. Virgin Islands and eventually the U.S. mainland. It was also was a Category 5 storm for longer than all other Atlantic hurricanes on record except Ivan in 2004. Read More: USA Today

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