US Breaks Yearly Record For Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters

You weren't just imagining it, 2011 has been a bad year for extreme weather in the United States. New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that the US set a new record for damage from weather disasters, with 12 disasters causing more than a billion dollars each, for total damage of about $52 billion.

This year broke the record set in 2008, when there were nine billion dollar-plus weather disasters.

Data presented earlier in the year showed that the US was on track to set a new record this year. NOAA says the events that pushed the nation over the top were 1) damage calculations from the tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast which occurred back in June and now have crossed the billion dollar damage mark, and 2) separating out the wildfires in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona from the greater drought which hit the region, as has traditionally been done but had not yet been do so in 2011.

Of the 1000 deaths attributed to weather events in 2011, NOAA says 646 of these can be linked to these twelve weather disasters.

As for how 2011 stacks up to extreme weather events going back to 1980, check out the NOAA chart below:

billion dollar weather disasters in the US 1980-2011 chartNOAA/Public Domain

US Breaks Yearly Record For Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters
In terms of human lives, 65% of all people killed by weather events in 2011 died in these natural disasters.

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