The year 2017 was the most expensive on record for the United States in terms of the damages caused by natural disasters. Sixteen disasters exceeded $1 billion each in losses, with their total cost pegged at $306 billion (Rs 19.42 lakh crore), said the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday.

The organisation has kept records of weather-related disasters costing over $1 billion (Rs 6348 crore) since 1980. In 2017, the disasters led to losses worth over $90 billion (Rs 5.71 lakh crore) more than the last costliest year, 2005.

The billion-dollar disasters in 2017 included a freeze, a drought, a wildfire, two floods, three major hurricanes and eight severe storms.

Hurricane Harvey was the most expensive disaster since Hurricane Katrina, leading to losses amounting to $125 billion (Rs 7.94 lakh crore). Hurricane Maria caused damages worth $90 billion (Rs 5.71 lakh crore), and Irma in September 2017 cost $50 billion (Rs 3.17 lakh crore).

The wildfires in western United States in December led to losses of $18 billion (Rs 1.14 lakh crore), three times the previous record for losses due to wildfires.