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U.S. disasters in first 3 months of 2017 cost record $5B

By
Andrew V. Pestano
A destroyed pickup truck sits in a field as volunteers clear debris in Perryville, Mo., on March 1 following a tornado that killed at least one, injured 20 and damaged nearly 100 homes on February 28. The National Centers for Environmental Information said five separate weather disasters caused a record more than $5 billion in damages for the first three months of 2017. File Photo by Rick Meyer/UPI
A destroyed pickup truck sits in a field as volunteers clear debris in Perryville, Mo., on March 1 following a tornado that killed at least one, injured 20 and damaged nearly 100 homes on February 28. The National Centers for Environmental Information said five separate weather disasters caused a record more than $5 billion in damages for the first three months of 2017. File Photo by Rick Meyer/UPI | License Photo

April 10 (UPI) -- The National Centers for Environmental Information said there were five weather disasters from January to March, which cost more than $5 billion, a record for the first quarter of the year.

The NCEI said the severe weather events collectively caused dozens of deaths.

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"The number of billion-dollar events for January-March, five, is the largest number of first-quarter events in the 1980-present period of record and doubles the average number of events for January-March over the last 5 years, 2.4 events," the NCEI said in a statement.

In January, a tornado outbreak in the South killed at least 24 people and caused $1.1 billion in damages.

In February, feet of rain fell in California and caused flooding and structural damage, which killed at least five people and caused $1 billion in damage.

From Feb. 28 through March 8, two tornado outbreaks in the Midwest killed at least eight people and caused $2.7 billion in damage.

In March, the cold air from a winter storm in the Northeast in which at least five people died traveled South and killed crops, mainly blueberries in Georgia and peach trees in South Carolina -- causing at least $1 billion in damage.

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