Billion-dollar weather disasters smash US record

Dec 07, 2011 By SETH BORENSTEIN , AP Science Writer
FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2011 file photo, hundreds of cars are seen stranded on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago after a winter blizzard of historic proportions wobbled an otherwise snow-tough Chicago. America's wild weather year has hit yet another new high: a devastating dozen billion-dollar catastrophes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday that it has recalculated the number of weather disasters passing the billion dollar mark, with two new ones, pushing 2011's total to 12. The two costly additions are the Texas, New Mexico and Arizona wildfires and the mid June tornadoes and severe weather. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

(AP) -- America's wild weather year has set another record: a dozen billion-dollar catastrophes.

The said Wednesday that it has recalculated the number of passing the billion-dollar mark, with two new ones, pushing 2011's total to 12. The two costly additions are the Texas, New Mexico and Arizona wildfires and the mid-June tornadoes and .

NOAA uses $1 billion as a benchmark for the worst weather disasters. This year's total of a dozen billion-dollar calamities matches the number for all of the 1980s, even when the older figures are adjusted for inflation.

in America this year has killed more than 1,000 people, according to Director Jack Hayes. The dozen billion-dollar disasters alone add up to $52 billion in damage. Hayes, a 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 they are both at the $750 million mark. 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 triggered by manmade , 2011 in the U.S. was wilder than they predicted. The six large outbreaks of twisters, which were especially deadly this year, can't be attributed to global warming, but increased , and wildfires are expected to increase with , scientists say. More people are also living in areas that are prone to disasters.

"The degree of devastation is extreme in and of itself and it would be tempting to say it's a sign of things to come, though we would be hard-pressed to see such a convergence of circumstances occurring in one single year again for a while," said Jerry Meehl, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

The number of weather catastrophes that pass the billion-dollar mark when adjusted into constant dollars is increasing with each decade. In the 1980s, the country averaged slightly more than one a year. In the 1990s, the average was 3.8 a year. It jumped to 4.6 in the first decade of this century. And in the past two years, it's averaged 7.5.

The old record for most billion-dollar disasters before this year was 2008 with nine.

But this isn't just about numbers and records, it's about people, said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco.

"Each of these events is a huge disaster for victims who experience them," Lubchenco said in an email to The Associated Press. "They are an unprecedented challenge for the nation."

This year's dozen billion-dollar disasters are:

- Wildfires in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona from spring to fall. Losses are more than $1 billion, with at least five deaths.

- Hurricane Irene along most of the East Coast in August. Losses exceed $7.3 billion with at least 45 deaths.

- Flooding in the upper Midwest along the Missouri and Souris Rivers in the summer. Damage is more than $2 billion, with at least five deaths.

- Flooding on the Mississippi River in spring and summer. Losses are $3 billion to $4 billion with at least two deaths.

- Drought and heat wave in the southern Plains and Southwest from spring to fall. Losses are near $10 billion.

- Tornadoes and severe storms in the Midwest and Southeast from June 18 to June 22. They caused more than $1.3 billion in damage and killed at least three people.

- Twisters in the Midwest and Southeast May 22-27. These killed 177 people and caused more than $9.1 billion in damage.

- Tornadoes in the Southeast and Ohio Valley April 25-28. These killed 321 people and caused more than $10.2 billion in damage.

- Tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast April 14-16. These killed 38 people and caused more than $2.1 billion in damage.

- Tornadoes in the Southeast and Midwest April 8-11. These caused more than $2.2 billion in damage.

- Tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast April 4 and 5. These inflicted more than $2.8 billion in damage and killed nine people.

- The Groundhog Day blizzard killed 36 people and caused damage greater than $1.8 billion.

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More information: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: www.noaa.gov

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User comments : 37

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frenchie
2.7 / 5 (9) Dec 07, 2011
BUT BUT....It's all a marxist liberal-intellectual elite plot to destroy good hard working americans and redistribute wealth and....

Ah i can't keep the sarcasm up. A meme would be perfect right now. Clearly, we scientists need to go back to our models.
dschlink
3 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2011
Not a single one from the Rockies west. But there was that killer storm in December 2010 and we do have three weeks to go.
Shootist
2.2 / 5 (13) Dec 07, 2011
What "wild weather year"? Go to 1815 for a "wild weather year".

More pablum from the breast of the re-distributionalists
Nanobanano
3.3 / 5 (4) Dec 07, 2011
What "wild weather year"? Go to 1815 for a "wild weather year".

More pablum from the breast of the re-distributionalists


That was caused by a volcanic winter from a VEI 7 eruption, so you're making an unreasonable comparison.

This is 1899...

sciencefacts.us/tag/mississippi-river-freezing/

This is 16 years after Krakatoa, which was "only" VEI 6, so it seems unlikely this was caused by Krakatoa.

I'm not sure what to finger for this, but the article says the Ice was 2 inches thick on the mississippi at NOLA and 1 inch thick at the Mouth.

I've lived in Louisiana all my life, and have never EVER seen ice on any river, stream, or canal.

I have only ever seen a ditch ice over 1 or 2 times in my life, and a pond ice over once in my life, that is, in Louisiana.

So to freeze the Mississippi over by 1 inch all the way to the mouth must have been something cataclysmic involved, perhaps unrecorded... Meteor or volcano or something...
Howhot
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 07, 2011
Its just the long-predicted increase in weather extremes triggered by manmade climate change! AGW Climate change is just worst than predicted.
lakawak
1 / 5 (7) Dec 07, 2011
Or, gee...frenchie....it couldn't hae to do with the fact that inflation has made it MUCH easier to reach the billion dollar mark now, could it? No...that must be aright wing invention.

The saddest part about your worthless life is that never even occurred to you.
omatumr
1 / 5 (10) Dec 08, 2011
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that it has recalculated the number of weather disasters . . .


Just in time for UN's latest propaganda campaign.

You can see that UN's agenda is political, rather than scientific, in the IPCC Paleoclimate Chapter:

www.megaupload.com/?d=IJ40UFBT

The wide range of nations represented by authors on the first page reminds us of a quote by the late Dr. Crichton Michael:

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

The validity of scientific conclusions has absolutely nothing to do with the geographic distribution of those making the observations and/or performing the measurements.

That simple fact seems to be beyond Big Brothers comprehension!

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://myprofile....anuelo09
Howhot
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 08, 2011
You know AGW is real climate change when you get a letter in the mail from your insurance company saying they are increasing their rates due to all of the extreme weather events recently.

So, that must proof that the capitalist (not socialists) have finally gotten a clue AGW is real and we have less than 2Yrs to fix it.
omatumr
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 08, 2011
1975 Endangered Atmosphere Conference
Where the Global Warming Hoax Was Born

www.21stcenturysc...Born.pdf
FrankHerbert
2.8 / 5 (99) Dec 08, 2011
As early as 1965-66 a conspiracy was entered into between the climatologists of Europe and America.For nearly thirty years these conspirators have kept the people quarreling over less important matters while they have pursued with unrelenting zeal their one central purpose.Every device of treachery, every resource of statecraft, and every artifice known to the secret cabals of the IPCC are being used to deal a blow to the prosperity of the people and the financial and commercial independence of the country.


I madlibbed exactly 4 words and the year from an example of a paranoid conspiracy theory written in 1895.

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics"
http://karws.gso....yle.html

Nothing ever changes.
FrankHerbert
2.9 / 5 (101) Dec 08, 2011
It is a notorious fact that the Communists of Europe and Al Gore are at this very moment plotting our destruction and threatening the extinction of our political, civil, and religious institutions. We have the best reasons for believing that corruption has found its way into our Executive Chamber, and that our Executive head is tainted with the infectious venom of Communism.


Here's another. I changed "Monarchs" to "Communists" and the "Pope of Rome" to "Al Gore". Also "Catholicism" to "Communism".

This is from 1855. Three phrases are all that stand between the current paranoid conspiracy theorist and that of 150 years ago. They all do the same crap. Recognize it. Repudiate it. Move on.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 08, 2011
It is becoming increasingly clear that denialists will simply ignore anything as long as it provides them with an excuse to misrepresent the truth.

Here Denialist Lakawak ignores the article's claim that the figures are adjusted for inflation in order to claim that inflation is the cause of the rise in natural disasters.

"NOAA uses $1 billion as a benchmark for the worst weather disasters. This year's total of a dozen billion-dollar calamities matches the number for all of the 1980s, even when the older figures are adjusted for inflation." - Article

"... it couldn't hae to do with the fact that inflation has made it MUCH easier to reach the billion dollar mark now, could it?" - Lakawak
FrankHerbert
2.8 / 5 (97) Dec 08, 2011
LOL queue Marjon asking some leading ultra general question like,

"But why is inflation so high? Could it be the 'progressives' desire to further legalize theft?

[Insert von Mises quote]"
Guy_Underbridge
2.8 / 5 (4) Dec 08, 2011
I'm not sure what to finger for this, but the article says the Ice was 2 inches thick on the mississippi at NOLA
This is AWG thing is just all you liburals trying to deny Southern kids the opportunity to build a snowman within spitting distance of the Gulf, like my great-great-granddaddy did.
Noumenon
3.8 / 5 (67) Dec 08, 2011
I thought weather was not climate science,... I guess only when it makes for good propaganda.

That an additional 4% co2 in the atmosphere is the cause of multiple "billion $" weather disasters, is purely unfounded wild speculation.
Noumenon
3.8 / 5 (67) Dec 08, 2011
To the various snarky remarks wrt the far left using AGW to promote redistribution of wealth; It is not a wild conspiracy theory if it is admitted by UN personal. It is in fact their proposed solution, that socialistic engineering be adopted, in one form or another.

After the 2012 elections I expect the conservatives to enter this debate properly and propose things that actually may have a chance of being adopted and reducing co2.
Noumenon
3.8 / 5 (66) Dec 08, 2011
It is a notorious fact that the Communists of Europe and Al Gore are at this very moment plotting our destruction and threatening the extinction of our political, civil, and religious institutions. We have the best reasons for believing that corruption has found its way into our Executive Chamber, and that our Executive head is tainted with the infectious venom of Communism.


Here's another. I changed "Monarchs" to "Communists" and the "Pope of Rome" to "Al Gore". Also "Catholicism" to "Communism".

This is from 1855. Three phrases are all that stand between the current paranoid conspiracy theorist and that of 150 years ago. They all do the same crap. Recognize it. Repudiate it. Move on.


There are countless doomsday scenario's prophesied throughout history by all manner of charletens,... one could do the same and change a few worlds around and aligned them up with the wild AlGore unfounded speculations. AGW is the lefts new religion.
Noumenon
3.8 / 5 (66) Dec 08, 2011
@FrankHubris
Care to explain why you rated me ones in this thread?

http://www.physor...k_1.html
Guy_Underbridge
1 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2011
There are countless doomsday scenario's prophesied throughout history by all manner of...

It is a notorious fact that the Beetles of Europe and Elvis Presley are at this very moment plotting our destruction and threatening the extinction of our political, civil, and religious institutions. We have the best reasons for believing that corruption has found its way into our Living Rooms, and that our Youth are tainted with the infectious venom of Rock and Roll.
rawa1
1 / 5 (2) Dec 08, 2011
Scientists blame an unlucky combination of global warming and freak chance.
The extreme weather can be attributed to global warming in general, even these low temperatures and snow blizzards. How is it possible? Because the increasing of the average temperature of atmosphere makes its circulation more turbulent and changes it into vertical one, which increases the difference between oceanic and inland circulation. As the result, most of oceanic water condenses at the thin line of coastal area, which results in heavy rains and snow precipitation there, whereas the inland suffers with droughts and continental weather with extreme temperature differences between summer and winter. I'm writing about this mechanism here:

http://aetherwave...nge.html
rubberman
1 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2011
Wow.... Rawa is on the right track! Simple way of stating it, CO2 traps heat energy, the climate is a system in constant motion. Adding energy to a system in motion amplifies everything in the system. If AGW is the lefts new religion, at least there is a myriad of proof that THEIR god exists.....
Noumenon
3.7 / 5 (67) Dec 08, 2011
CO2 traps heat energy, the climate is a system in constant motion. Adding energy to a system in motion amplifies everything in the system.


Seems that every time one questions speculations of climate research, someone what's to change the argument back to basic physics.

I don't doubt that putting more co2 into the atmosphere would cause an effect. How do you know that a higher average temperature does even out variations in climate and so dampen the effect of extreme weather?

It is speculation to imply that particular events are caused by AGW, especially when people attribute dollar amounts and attribute 5 mph to the hurricanes as due to AGW.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 08, 2011
Adapt or die.
Growing up on the Great Plains we were exposed to all sorts of extreme weather: tornadoes, blizzards, droughts, heat ( 100), cold (-30F), big deal.
What a bunch of whiners!
FrankHerbert
2.8 / 5 (97) Dec 08, 2011
Keep whining about 'legal theft' old man.

You also walked 20 miles *uphill both ways* to school, right?
rubberman
3 / 5 (2) Dec 08, 2011
There are papers abound on the subject Nou....google is your friend. Rawa is talking about the sea breeze effect, one element of atmosperic motion. I am refering to the basic horizontal motion of North american weather patterns, how they are tied to the jet streams and how surface weather is affected by the speed of those streams, and how temperature differential affects the speed of the streams themselves. The locations of the streams is how you wind up with a blocking high over the south central US in the summer that spawns lasting drought conditions. And why virtually all climate models, regardless of their various shortcomings, predict things like extensive lasting drought and desertification for the same area.
frenchie
not rated yet Dec 08, 2011
Or, gee...frenchie....it couldn't hae to do with the fact that inflation has made it MUCH easier to reach the billion dollar mark now, could it? No...that must be aright wing invention.

The saddest part about your worthless life is that never even occurred to you.


Okay. It blows my mind that you just argued inflation clearly made this easier to calculate. Did you read the summary of the catastrophes? Did you go past calculus in high school. Here let me help you: 52.8$ Billion taking the low end with 641 estimated deaths. That's $58,060,163,44.67 in 1950 (and still 641 deaths). BTW it counts the # of 1billion$ disasters a year...way to fail at even reading

And as far as my worthless life is concerned, it is spent happily laughing at your retarded dribble of a response while working on getting the next generation of Americans back to space. Please go bury your head back in the ground.

Science. It works.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) Dec 08, 2011
Adapt or die.
Regardless of the cause of the weather and other natural disasters, people must be prepared or suffer the consequences.
Money and effort wasted on climate studies that won't have any impact for decades could be better put to use adapting and preparing for blizzards, tornadoes, etc.
Santa Anna winds were blowing semi-trucks off the road on the Wasatch front and downing power lines all over the west. Will anything be done to put windbreaks on the road or bury power lines?
FrankHerbert
2.9 / 5 (96) Dec 08, 2011
Why can't wealthy people adapt to simple regulations? Maybe they should be left to die if they can't adapt.
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (2) Dec 10, 2011
I thought weather was not climate science,... I guess only when it makes for good propaganda.

That an additional 4% co2 in the atmosphere is the cause of multiple "billion $" weather disasters, is purely unfounded wild speculation.


If the Arctic is warming by about 0.2C per decade throughout the entire water collumn as reported, then the heat Potential of the top 100 meters goes up by 8.4kJ/cm^2/decade.

Doesn't look like much, till you realize Category 5 hurricanes can form in the tropics at as low as 100kJ/cm^2 under ideal conditions.

If we are using 300PPM as a reference, and we are currently at 395 PPM, then that is 95PPM excess. Since we add about 2 to 2.2 PPM/year, then about 23% of the total excess CO2 was added within the past 10 years.

I want to show you something interesting, but it's a bit convoluted, so I'll make another post.

I don't expect you to be convinced, but this is NOT a coincidence.
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2011
I posted some of this data set in another thread, with mixed and surprisingly high rated reviews.

Here, I post the equivalent of what would be the 3rd derivatives of the Arctic Sea ice, that is rate of change in the rate of change of the rate of change. Nest yes, but "real", because this is an equation in many variables.

Anyway.

Numbers are calculated in KILOMETERS CUBED.

Year : value

98 11

99 15

00 16

01 08

02 02

03 03-

04 04

05 02-

06 06-

07 06-

08 06-

09 18-

10 14-

11 12-

See anything familliar?

Yeah, the ICE and therefore the atmosphere and oceans, hit some sort of INFLECTION POINT during the years 2003 through 2005.

Note the FLIP FLOPPING.

Before 2003, this marker had been increasing, that is decreasing the rate of melting.

After 2005 it is increasing the rate of melting.

2004 and 2005 were the worst hurricane years ever in the atlantic, and it's never been the same since.

Clear and permanent SIGN change.
djr
not rated yet Dec 11, 2011
"Adapt or die." I totally agree. Do you see inherent in your admonition here - the importance of understanding the problem? If we have to deal with more frequent, and severe droughts in the future - we are going to have to find ways of producing food despite these droughts. Does that not require studying the problem? If we deny the problem - and spend our days throwing insults at each other (I know - I am often guilty of this), we waste precious time. Here is one example of people who are trying to proactively address the problem - http://permacultu...youtube/ I am starting a back yard aquaponics system. Bill gates financing TWR nuclear power. Don't you think we would be better spending our time on acting intelligently - rather than pretending there is no problem?
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 11, 2011
I have never been opposed to studying the problems caused by weather. I was raised on a farm in SD and well understand how weather patterns change and affect food production.
After the 30s, wind breaks were planted all over. We planted our own to slow soil erosion and trap snow.

Are AGWites acting intelligently? Their solution has always been top down, govt mandated taxes on energy with no discussion about more cost effective adaptive solutions.
As their socialist solutions are now failing, we are now seeing more press on other ideas.
Good luck with aquaculture. I hear it is quite a challenge keeping the water clean and meeting EPA pollution 'standards'.

The best way for govt to promote intelligent solutions is to stop subsiding bad solutions and good solutions.
Another article on physorg worries about corporate cash and jobs. Get the govt out of the way: lower taxes and fewer regs and there will be real, profitable solutions.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2011
Intelligence isn't in the Republican or Libertarian Dictionary.

"Don't you think we would be better spending our time on acting intelligently - rather than pretending there is no problem?" - dir
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2011
"lower taxes" - RyggTard

Translation "Starve the Beast" of big government through economic collapse.

It has been the Libertarian/Republican plan for America for the last 30 years.

djr
3 / 5 (1) Dec 12, 2011
"Get the govt out of the way: lower taxes and fewer regs and there will be real, profitable solutions." Again - I agree with you. I have worked extensively in Government - and understand only too well the inefficiency, and corruption involved. I don't believe that private business is immune to corruption and inefficiency. I think that the children who used to work down the coal mines would have liked some child labor laws to protect them. I think the profit motive can be just as corrupting as the power motive of gvt (perhaps they are different sides of the same coin). Ultimately it comes down to individuals. None of that detracts from the current imperative to understand what is going on with our climate. Omatr et al swear that the scientists are all corrupt - and lying about the science - but the pure fossil fuel industry would never dream of corrupting our gvt officials. I think they are doing science - and truly worried about the problem. I say listen to them.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2011
I don't believe that private business is immune to corruption and inefficiency.

No-one is. But the private sector competition punishes corrupt behavior swiftly and with extreme prejudice.
children who used to work down the coal mines

Why would parents send their children into coal mines?
In UK, it was the govt orphanages that provide child labor for the mills.
Private sector competition holds entities accountable. The SEC allowed Madoff to run wild for a decade. Was anyone at SEC fired or was the SEC put out of business? When Arthur Andersen failed, they were out of business, gone. Govt agencies never die. They are rewarded with more money when they fail. Not so the private sector.
djr
not rated yet Dec 13, 2011
"No-one is. But the private sector competition punishes corrupt behavior swiftly and with extreme prejudice." I think your glasses are rose colored - at least to some degree. Yes - I agree - gvt agencies have no accountability - and therefore no constraints on their excesses. Of course - private and gvt often get interrelated - so despite the horrific behavior of Blackwater - they are still operating under a different name. We could also look at Union Carbide and Bhopal. I do agree that the private sector provides more accountability, and incentives to behave ethically. The point about child workers was not where they came from - but the fact that private corps will willingly exploit child labor - if there is not regulation and oversight.

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