Disaster Tracker: Interactive Map of 2011′s Scary Weather
Just in time for all those end-of-year wrap-up reports, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has put together an Extreme Weather Map detailing just how unusual 2011 has been for its abundance of unnatural disasters.
The map documents 2,941 monthly weather records that were broken during the year, including flooding, droughts, punishing snowstorms and wind events—and that’s just in the United States.
Citing a year of “unparalleled extremes,” the NRDC report claims 14 major weather events resulted in $53 billion of damage, not including individual health claims. The report goes further, linking half of those extreme events to the changing climate, posing a troubling look into the future.
Along a similar vein, a TakePart post last week highlighted a new report from the World Meteorological Organization announcing that worldwide temperatures in 2011 were tied for the tenth highest since records began being kept in 1850. (Thirteen of the warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997.)
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Highlights (lowlights?) of the year in Extreme Weather:
• Record Snows: In New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut it was the snowiest January on record. South Bend, Indiana, recorded the all-time greatest 24-hour snowfall and Hartford, Connecticut, endured the snowiest month on record (57 inches).
• Record Floods: Above-average snowmelt plus high spring rainfall caused the Missouri and Souris Rivers to overflow their banks across the Upper Midwest (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri), forcing an estimated 11,000 people to evacuate. In Minot, North Dakota, 4,000 homes were flooded as were thousands of acres of farmland along the Missouri River. Estimated losses exceed $2 billion and cost at least five lives.
* Record Heat: Historic drought, heatwaves, and wildfires spread across Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas, Arkansas and Louisiana. The most destructive wildfire in Texas history, the Bastrop County Fire burned over 34,000 acres, destroying almost 1,600 homes and killing two. A total loss to agriculture, cattle and structures is $9 billion and growing.
(For more of my dispatches go to TakePart.com)