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Largest Ever U.S. Disaster Continues Unfolding

Posted by feww on July 14, 2012

Climate related disasters in 2012 could prove costliest in history

FIRE-EARTH estimates the losses and damage from Drought 2012 and other climate-related disasters this year could exceed the combined toll of all ‘natural disasters’ that have occurred in the U.S. since 1980.

Map of U.S. counties declared as agricultural disaster areas under ‘Streamlined Disaster Designation Process,’ as of July 12, 2012

PRIMARY & CONTIGUOUS COUNTIES designated for 2012 crop disaster losses – As of 07/10/2012 – through Designation No. S3260 (Approved 07/03/2012)

Drought conditions have sparked disaster declarations in about 1,300 counties (1,016 primary, 278 contiguous) across the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported.

  • U.S. drought has been intensified by the driest June in history and triple-digit temperatures on 10 out of 11 days recently.
  • As of last week, Moderate to Extreme drought conditions prevailed in 52.56 percent of the Midwest, and 68.39 percent of the South. Moderate to Exceptional drought conditions covered 73.87% of High Plains, 64.15% of the West and 35.46% of the Southeast.
  • The declaration covers 26 states across the country: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Hawaii.

Worsening Drought Conditions

  • Missouri.  Worsening drought throughout Missouri has forced Gov. Nixon to ask the federal authorities for disaster declaration for all of the state’s 114 counties with the exception of independent city of St. Louis.
    • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Wednesday a ‘Streamlined Disaster Designation Process’ a USDA rule change for Secretarial disaster designations that will allow nearly automatically a county to be declared a disaster area once it is categorized by the U.S. Drought Monitor as a severe drought for eight consecutive weeks during the growing season.

Drought Map for Missouri as of July 10, 2012. Source: Drought Monitor Archives

Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

  • Kyushu, Japan.   Flooding and landslides on the island of Kyushu have left dozens of people dead or missing.
    • At least 250,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders, with an additional 150,000 advised to abandon their homes.
    • The evacuation orders affect the entire cities of Miyama, Yame and Yanagawa.
    • The worst affected areas are Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Ōita and Saga prefectures.
    • The city of Aso in Kumamoto prefecture received 754mm  (~ 30 inches) in under 72 hours.
    • Many rivers have burst their banks in the affected areas, unleashing deadly torrents of water, mud and debris throughout the region.

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