Archive for Thursday, December 8, 2011

Billion-dollar disasters smash U.S. record

December 8, 2011


— America smashed the record for billion-dollar weather disasters this year with a deadly dozen — and counting.

With an almost biblical onslaught of twisters, floods, snow, drought, heat and wildfire, the U.S. in 2011 has seen more weather catastrophes that caused at least $1 billion in damage than it did in all of the 1980s, even after the dollar figures from back then are adjusted for inflation.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration added two disasters to the list Wednesday, bringing the total to 12. The two are the Texas, New Mexico and Arizona wildfires, and the mid-June tornadoes and severe weather.

NOAA uses $1 billion as a benchmark for the worst weather disasters.

Extreme weather in America this year has killed more than 1,000 people, according to National Weather Service Director Jack Hayes. The dozen billion-dollar disasters alone add up to $52 billion.

The old record for $1 billion disasters was nine, in 2008.

Hayes, a meteorologist since 1970, said he has never seen a year for extreme weather like this, calling it “the deadly, destructive and relentless 2011.” And this year’s total may not stop at 12. Officials are still adding up the damage from the Tropical Storm Lee and the pre-Halloween Northeast snowstorm, and so far each is at $750 million. And there’s still nearly a month left in the year.

Scientists blame an unlucky combination of global warming and freak chance. They say even with the long-predicted increase in weather extremes triggered by manmade climate change, 2011 in the U.S. was wilder than they predicted. For example, the six large outbreaks of twisters can’t be attributed to global warming, scientists say.


Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 10 months ago

"Extreme weather in America this year has killed more than 1,000 people"

That's terrible! That's 1/43 rd of the number of people that are killed in motor vehicle accidents in a typical year in the United States!

Just think, for every 43 people that died on the highways, one died in a natural disaster. I think we should be paying more attention to the unnatural disasters than the natural ones, because a lot more lives could be saved if we did.

"The dozen billion-dollar disasters alone add up to $52 billion."

Clipped from: "The motorist advocacy group AAA said accidents cost $164.2 billion each year,"

That is about three times the cost of the natural disasters that occurred in 2011.

Get real, people. Quit worrying so much about the natural disasters, drive carefully, and be sure to wear your seat belt.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

Actually, if we took the steps that would dramatically reduce the number of highway deaths, it would also have the effect of dramatically reducing the production of greenhouse gases through our systems of mass transit. Not that we have demonstrated either the will or the discipline or intelligent sense of self-preservation.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 10 months ago

It's not just one country that needs to wake up. It's the whole world that is producing changes in the climate. Although, exactly which mechanism of human action might be causing climate change is a subject of considerable debate, and of course everyone has scientific proof that their conclusions are correct.

My conclusion is a very common one, and it is that the human population of the world is larger than what is sustainable without some sort of massive new technology. But if things continue the way they are, at some point in the future it will be unsustainable no matter what, because once there is one person for every square foot of the surface of the land and sea, we will have passed that point for sure. And, given the growth of the human population, we are headed for exactly that.

As far as natural disasters go, they are to be expected. Hurricanes are nothing new, they have been occurring for hundreds of millions of years. The problem is that humans build structures and then live in them on beaches where they know hurricanes are going to occur.

Floods are also a very ancient phenomena, and exactly where, but not exactly when, they are going to occur is very predictable. People build their homes where they know floods are going to occur and then call it a natural disaster when the predictable happens.

Tornados are also nothing new, they have also been occurring for hundreds of millions of years. I'm quite sure tens of thousands of dinosaurs were killed by them.

Earthquakes? Well, again, they've been happening for hundreds of millions of years. And even after hundreds of millions of years, human beings still build buildings that fall apart when the predictable happens.

And, the sea level. It has not been consistent over the last few million years, and to expect that suddenly the sea level will become a constant is not very logical.

It's human beings that put themselves in harm's way by building their homes in places where they know floods, tornados, hurricanes, and earthquakes are going to occur. And then, not also building themselves a safe place to go when the very predictable event occurs.

A massive meteor strike is a different matter. That will be a terrible disaster when it occurs. And it's not if, it's when, that will happen again.

Although, it's quite likely that there will not be a significant one again for hundreds of thousands of years.

Getaroom 5 years, 10 months ago

The Strawman says, "Weather happens for all kinds of reasons and the climate deniers are just intentionally blind to obvious causalities. Besides, deniers do not agree with the politics of The Evil Axis of Weather Doers, we all know how The Weather chooses sides with the politicians and lobbyists!!

Bad weather- very bad !!! Not in my back yard - you Liberal loving The Weather you!!

Now for the Truth! Driving saves lives! Imagine how many people would die in the Evil Conspiring Winter Weather if people had to walk on K10 to work and shop in KC! The horrors!! This simply must be true because opinions do not lie. Read the OPStats about The Weather and the Truth. Visit these web sites offered to you free of charge: and You can Deny but you can't Lie. Herman Cain tried and look where that got him, caught driving recklessly (for the conditions) A Campaign on a "Suspended" license.
We all know it was the Lying Womens Weather Underground Conspiracy, PAC paid for by stinking Liberals that took him down!
Right, " it's_just_math"?

dontsheep 5 years, 10 months ago

C'mon LJWorld...this is the 3rd time you've posted an article on this subject pushing global warming as the reason.

Other possibilities...

It could be that we have such a small view of time (i.e. "Hayes, a meteorologist since 1970, said he has never seen a year for extreme weather like this,") that we compare everything to what we've experienced only.

Or it could be that everything costs ridiculously more than it ever has and we have way more of it. Just adjusting for inflation does not address this change.

Or it could be due to the large increase in population in the cities...particularly on the east coast.

Or it could be that we were just "unlucky" with where the storms hit. Instead of the tornadoes staying in rural areas, they went thru population centers.

But no...we need to focus on global warming. And yet, stories like this are pushed under the rug.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

Actually, it's likely one or more of the causes you list, AND global warming.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 10 months ago

"adjusting for inflation"

Have you noticed that is being done in rather creative ways lately?

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 10 months ago

"Or it could be that we were just "unlucky" with where the storms hit. Instead of the tornadoes staying in rural areas, they went thru population centers."

We were very lucky when the F-5 tornado hit Greensburg, Kansas. If it would have landed on Olathe, Kansas instead, it would have totally destroyed everything in a mile wide path all the way to Crown Center.

A nuclear bomb would have done less damage.

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