|Drought was one of the disasters that hit the United States in 2012. Map courtesy of NOAA.|
The Mayan calendar finally rolled over again this December and the Four Horsemen didn’t appear, no downpour of poisonous frogs or locusts. On the other hand, 2012 was a disastrous year in many other ways.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this year past 365 days or so was one of the costliest on record in the United States.
While 2011 was also a record year for disasters, when 14 different events cost more than $60 billion in damages; this year exceeded overall costs of disasters.
This surge is much in part due to the hurricane and subsequent superstorm Sandy, as well as the wide spread drought.
Hurricane Sandy has already totaled more than $100 billion in damages to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut together. The estimates are expected to increase over the years as recovery continues.
In the last 12 months there have been 11 billion-dollar events, which included seven thunderstorms, two hurricanes (Sandy and Isaac) and many large wildfires.
The widespread drought may end up being the most expensive of all the disasters that occurred this year.
In fact, the majority of states are still experiencing drought conditions. November 2012 was the 20th warmest and eight driest on record.
According to NOAA, almost 17 percent of the United States is still in “extreme” drought conditions.
This raises the question, do you have the basic necessities in order if a natural or human-caused disaster hits your community? Studies say probably not.
Check out this wealth of resources on how you can do just that: http://www.calema.ca.gov/Pages/default.aspx .
Here are the 11 costliest disasters of 2012:
- Southeast/Ohio Valley tornadoes: March 2-3;
- Texas tornadoes: April 2-3;
- Great Plains tornadoes: April 13-14;
- Midwest/Ohio Valley severe weather: April 28-May 1;
- Southern Plains/Midwest/Northeast severe weather: May 25-30;
- Rockies/Southwest severe weather: June 6-12;
- Plains/East/Northeast severe weather (“Derecho”): June 29-July 2;
- Hurricane Isaac: Aug. 26-31;
- Western wildfires: Summer-fall;
- Hurricane Sandy: Oct. 29-31;
- U.S. drought/heatwave: Throughout 2012.
It is important to note that there were a total of 10 hurricanes measured off the Atlantic coast, as well as 19 depressions and 19 significant storms.
According to NOAA, 349 people lost their lives due to natural disasters this year.