The United States has been rocked by an extraordinary number of tornadoes and devastating storms this year that have already left a staggering price tag.

Now heading into what forecasters say will be an extreme summer – from punishing heat waves to severe weather and hurricanes – the nation’s disaster relief agency is expected to run out of money before it’s even over.

The US has been thrashed with 11 extreme weather disasters with costs exceeding $1 billion so far this year, with a total price tag of $25.1 billion, according to an updated tally from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


It’s tied for the second-most such disasters on record and doesn’t even include the extreme weather in the second half of May, said Adam Smith, an applied climatologist with NOAA.

That is worrying news for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose major disaster relief fund could slip into the red by the end of summer – a more than $1.3 billion shortfall in August, according to a May report.

Florida’s two Republican senators recently wrote a letter to FEMA asking the agency how much more money it would need to respond to hurricane season.

In a statement to CNN, a FEMA spokesperson didn’t address exactly how much funding it would need to get through hurricane season, but said the agency is continuing to work with Congress “to ensure sufficient funding is available .”

“Without additional funding, FEMA will take steps prior to funding exhaustion to ensure resources are available to support ongoing lifesaving and life sustaining activities,” the spokesperson said.

In the event of a major catastrophe like a hurricane, the agency would have a funding reserve set aside for initial response and recovery operations.

FEMA’s tenuous balance sheet reflects how many destructive storms have already lashed the US.

This spring produced the second-most tornadoes to-date since records began in 1950, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Tornado activity skyrocketed from late April through May, with more than 780 confirmed tornadoes cutting across the central and eastern US during April and May, the SPC said.

Some storms have been deadly. An EF4 that ripped through Greenfield, Iowa, killed five. Another tornado in Cooke County, Texas, later in the month killed seven people.

Severe thunderstorms have been extremely destructive, with hail wreaking havoc across the central US. Severe thunderstorms blasted multiple cities with hurricane-force wind gusts in May.

A derecho with 100 mph wind turned debris into projectiles and shattered glass windows in downtown Houston skyscrapers. Nearly a million homes and businesses were left without power, many for days, after violent winds mangled massive electrical transmission towers.

And scientists are warning this summer could continue the destruction as the dramatic warming of the planet and oceans from burning fossil fuels set the stage for a supercharged hurricane season and dangerous heat.


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