2017 was 3rd warmest for U.S., second warmest for Florida

Every state in the contiguous U.S. experienced above average warmth in 2017, leading this past year to come in as third warmest on record.

According to a report released this morning by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2017 had an annual average temperature of 54.6 degrees. That’s 2.6 degrees above the 20th century average, but fell behind the previous record warm years of 2012 (55.3 degrees) and 2016 (54.9 degrees).

Five states had their top warmest year in records that date back to 1895, including Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and South Carolina.

A cold snap in mid-December knocked Florida off track for 2017 being its warmest year, pushing it to second place.

“Just the fact that every state had above average temperatures is significant and there were numerous states where it was the warmest it has ever been on record,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “Above average temperatures spanned the nation from coast to coast.”

The report also looked at the 16 weather and climate-related disasters with losses that exceeded $1 billion.

Total costs nationwide for the disasters that ranged from tropical cyclones to wildfires is an estimated $306 billion.

That shatters the previous record of $215 billion set in 2005 that was largely attributed to hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Hurricane Irma, a March freeze in the southeast and a tornado outbreak in January 2017, were listed as disasters that cost Florida and other states $52 billion in losses. Irma accounted for $50 billion of that estimate.

“The Florida Keys were heavily impacted, as 25 percent of buildings were destroyed while 65 percent were significantly damaged,” the report says about Irma. “Severe wind and storm surge damage also occurred along the coasts of Florida and South Carolina. Jacksonville, Fla. and Charleston, SC received near-historic levels of storm surge causing significant coastal flooding.”

Deke Arndt, monitoring section chief for NOAA’s NCEI, noted that the loss data only goes back to 1980 when public and private data is most accurate.

The 16 billion-dollar events ties 2011 for the record number of billion-dollar disasters for an entire calendar year.

If you haven’t yet, join Kim on Facebook Instagram and Twitter .

Reader Comments 0