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US bill for weather disasters over 2017 hits record high

America's bill last year for weather disasters has reached a record high of 306 billion dollars (£225 billion) following hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, tornadoes and drought.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted that the US suffered 16 billion-dollar disasters last year.

That ties with 2011 for the number of billion-dollar disasters, but the total cost of damages sailed past the previous record of 215 billion dollars in 2005.

The NOAA said Hurricane Harvey cost 125 billion dollars (£92 billion), second only to the cost of 2005's Katrina, while Maria cost 90 billion (£66 billion), ranking third. Irma cost 50 billion (£37 billion).

The weather agency also said that 2017 was the third-hottest year since records began, with an average annual temperature for the US of 12.6C.

Only 2012 and 2016 were warmer in records stretching back to 1895.

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