If you think it's been a wild year for weather-related disasters here in the U.S., you're exactly right. NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) released new statistics this past week which reveal that it's been a record year for "billion dollar disasters" across the country. Through November, we have chalked up 12 such events, resulting in a combined total of more than $52 billion in damage.
As you can see on the NCDC graph above, the 12 events of this year surpassed the prior record of 9 set back in 2008. You have to go all the way back to 1998 to find the 3rd place spot with 8 events.
The South, Southeast and Midwest have taken the bulk of billion dollar hits since 1980, as shown on the image below:
Here are the 12 events from 2011, in order from greatest to least damage:
6. Midwest/Southeast Tornado Outbreak (April 4-5): $2.8 billion
7. Southeast/Midwest Tornado Outbreak (April 8-11): $2.2 billion
8. Midwest/Southeast Tornado Outbreak (April 14-16): $2.1 billion
9. Upper Midwest Flooding (Summer): $2.0 billion
10. Groundhog Day Blizzard (Jan 29-Feb 3): $1.8 billion
11. Midwest/Southeast Severe Weather (June 18-22): $1.3 billion
12. Wildfires in Texas/New Mexico/Arizona (Summer): $1.0 billion
The above total damage estimates are as of November 2011, and are subject to revision as any additional losses are accounted for.
Through the end of the month/year I'll make individual posts highlighting each of the top 5 events listed above (and I'll add hyperlinks to the list as the posts are published).
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