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Mega Heatwaves Could Kill Thousands in the U.S.

Posted by feww on July 11, 2011

Heat: The number one weather-related killer in the United States

Deadly heatwaves of unprecedented intensity could strike the U.S. in 2011 and beyond, claiming tens of thousands of lives and affecting millions more: FIRE-EARTH Climate Model

Please cite FIRE-EARTH as the source for above forecast, if you’re copying/re-writing this information.

Billion Dollar Weather Disasters 1980 – May 2011

Billion Dollar Weather Disasters 1980 – May 2011. Source: NOAA. Click image to enlarge

Heat-Related Fatalities

  • Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States
  • More than 1,250 people died in the heatwave of 1980.
  • In the heatwave of 1995 at least 700 deaths in the Chicago area were attributed to heat.
  • A record heatwave in Europe claimed about 50,000 lives in August 2003.
  • The Moscow heatwave claimed an estimated 15,000 lives in August 2010.

Map of Billion Dollar Weather Disasters 1980 – 2010. Source: NOAA. Click image to enlarge

The U.S. has sustained 99 weather-related disasters over the past 31 years in which overall damages/costs topped $1 billion, with the total normalized losses exceeding $725 billion. ~ NOAA

Table of Disasters by Type and Frequency

Source: NCDC/NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

Map of Disasters by State

U.S. South has experienced the highest numbers of billion-dollar disasters since 1980. Image Source: NCDC/NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

Billion-Dollar Disasters 2011 (Preliminary List)

2011 is already highest damage cost-to-date in the U.S. for any year since 1980 when NOAA started  tracking billion-dollar disasters.

8 billion-dollar disasters have occurred in the U.S.  so far this year:

  • Groundhog Day Blizzard Jan 29-Feb 3 . Total cost: at least $3.9 billion; 36 deaths.
  • Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes April 4-5. Total cost: $2.0 billion; 9 deaths.
  • Southeast/Midwest Tornadoes April 8-11. Total cost: $2.2 billion; numerous injuries, no known deaths,  (59 tornadoes).
  • Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes April 14-16. Total cost:  $2.0 billion; 38 deaths (160 tornadoes).
  • Southeast/Ohio Valley/Midwest Tornadoes April 25-30. Total cost: $10.0 billion; 320 deaths (305 tornadoes).
  • Midwest/Southeast Tornadoes May 22-27: Total cost: $7.0 billion; 172 deaths [180 tornadoes reported; at least 18 more people have since died as a result of Joplin tornado, raising the official toll to 159.]
  • Texas Drought & Wildfires Spring-Summer 2011. Fighting/suppression costs are around $1 million /day; total losses to agriculture and cattle are estimated to range between $1.5-3.0 billion. This cost estimate reflects losses as of 16 June, and will likely rise as the event continues.
  • Mississippi River flooding Spring-Summer 2011 Estimated economic loss ranges from $2.0-4.0; the flooding continues. Preliminary cost as of 6/16:
    • $500 million to agriculture in Arkansas
    • $320 million in damage to Memphis, Tennessee
    • $800 million to agriculture in Mississippi
    • $317 million to agriculture and property in Missouri’s Birds Point-New Madrid Spillway
    • $80 million for the first 30 days of flood fighting efforts in Louisiana [Source of data: NOAA/NCDC]

Max Heat Index and Probability Forecast – July 13, 2011

Image Source: NOAA/HPC. Click image to enlarge.

Related Sites

Related Links

Updated July 12, 2011

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