Under the influence of climate change natural disasters throughout the U.S. are becoming more extreme, more costly and more deadly, says Reader’s Digest.
The country is in danger
It is unlikely that you clicked on the link about the States affected by natural disasters, and was expecting good news. They are really to be little. Although extreme weather events are nothing new, more of them in the United States and around the world. For example, the June 2020 was the third warmest for all history of observations (on a par with the year 2015 and in the lead — 2019 and 2016), according to the National oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA). Other weather-related events are also disappointing.
There are many ways to calculate that makes the weather “the worst”, for example, increase the number or level of complexity of natural disasters from year to year, the financial implications, the number of displaced persons and human death. Below is a look at the States that, one way or another, are considered the most prone to various natural disasters.
Severe weather in General
According to some estimates, the winner in this category is Texas, which is prone to floods, hurricanes, and even winter storms. And according to the National oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA), the state was affected by five extreme weather events in 2020: from strong winds and hail that also struck a broad swathe of the Midwest and the Ohio valley in March, before the tornado in late may (a week later) a powerful hail in South Texas, causing damage in the amount of $ 1.2 billion. Add the period from 2015 to 2019 and you will get 20 more severe droughts, severe storms, tornadoes, floods and many other natural phenomena.
The state also boasts the second most expensive natural disaster ever occurred in the United States — talking about the hurricane Harvey in 2017, which was the second most damage after Katrina in 2005.
Most flood prone States, and most vulnerable to hurricanes. In Texas and on the Gulf coast in Florida, indeed, their observed more in the vicinity of the Mississippi river. Let’s not forget about flood-prone Louisiana, where one third has seen a historic amount of rain and floods in August 2016, with more than 31 inches of rain (79 cm) in the town of Watson within 72 hours. According to NOAA, was destroyed 50 thousand houses, killed 13 people, and the state suffered damages of almost $ 11 billion.
Florida is the capital of hurricanes in the United States? Possible. Hurricane Irma supported maximum sustained wind of 185 mph (298 km / h) within 37 hours in 2017, devastating the Florida Keys. And in 2018, hurricane Michael, the first category 5 storm that struck the mainland of the United States since Andrew in 1992, caused storm surges greater than 15 feet, according to the Center for climate and energy solutions. Michael also killed 49 people. Due to its hurricanes, Florida ranked second in total damage from natural disasters — 225 billion dollars — after Texas, if you count in the last 40 years.
Here again FL the winner — no wonder this state is called the Capital of Lightning. Taking into account the density (i.e., greatest number of lightning strikes per square mile) Florida left on a mark of 228 in 2019. You can incorporate it into more understandable numbers: Texas wins with the total number of lightning — 47 397 975 in 2019. And although zipper may look cool, the one punch carries a core temperature of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27 760 Celsius). According to the prevention Centers control and prevention (CDC), it can not only kill you, causing a heart attack, but can also lead to destructive fires and damage to structures. 10% of lightning strikes on the people lead to death. In 2019 in the United States there were 20 deaths from lightning, 3 death occurred in Florida and Texas. And Yes, it is dangerous to shower during a thunderstorm.
Have you thought about California as the state most devastated by the forest fires? If so, then you are right. Year after year California continues to suffer the devastating fires. In 2015, the state suffered damages in the amount of $ 1 billion as a result of forest fires; 44 people died in fires that swept the state from summer to autumn 2017; and 106 people died and nearly 1.7 million acres burned in historical fires 2018. While 2019 was not so deadly, fires caused damage worth billions of dollars. Fires are natural phenomena in the West, but anthropogenic climate change increases the severity and prolongs the season.
The drought intensified in many States in the southwest and the plains and cause huge losses in agriculture. But in recent years more likely suffered from CA (and it also contributes to the fires). Starting in 2012, California joined the so-called five-year period of drought, although the state has experienced the longest period of drought, 376 weeks, from December 2011 to March 2019. Other States also suffered greatly in those years (Oregon, Nevada, Texas and Arizona). California also saw the most severe drought conditions among all the affected States in 2015, and by 2016, more than 100 million trees have died from lack of water.
The South-Western part of the country “wins” among the victims from too high air temperatures in a number of categories: for example, the number of heat waves, as well as for the duration of the season of intense heat. And according to NOAA, Louisiana and Florida are pretty close to take first place in this respect. Globally in 2019 has become the second hottest year on record (after 2016). And although this year the various States reached a record level of heat, perhaps one of the most disturbing facts was the heat in Alaska, which “back in the days of record high average temperatures throughout the state,” writes the New York Times. This is a worrying trend because the warming in the Northern part of the world means the melting of sea ice, which leads to many negative consequences for the planet.
2015 northeast of the country each year experiencing the most expensive winter storms (together they cost almost $ 7 billion), although the choice of the victim state — a difficult task. However, one of the leaders — Massachusetts, which suffered greatly in 2015 due to the massive and devastating snowfall in February, and then from the snow storm in 2016 and two powerful snow storms in 2018.
The United States is experiencing the strongest tornadoes in the world, and even in the country there is a region named only in honor of the turbulent vortices: Tornado Alley, which is usually considered to be consisting of parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, and South Dakota. From the point of view numbers, Texas usually collects the greatest number of tornadoes per year — by some estimates, in 2019, the year they were 140. But in the same year two other state has reached record levels: in Oklahoma with 149 tornadoes and four deaths and Mississippi with 115 tornadoes, according to Weather Channel.
Though volcanoes have nothing to do with climate change, it’s worth mentioning. In the United States has 169 volcanoes that the American Institute of geological Sciences considers “active”, most of which are located in Alaska and do not represent a huge threat for the population. But the Pacific Northwest has its volcanoes, including mount St Helens, mount Rainier, mount hood and mount Shasta. Mount St. Helens, which last erupted in 2008, was also the site of the deadliest eruption in US history in 1980 that killed 57 people, and that is enough reason to consider Washington the most deadly state for this indicator. But the most potentially devastating threat may be from Kilauea that he will pass the baton to Hawaii. The US geological survey says Kilauea number one in the category “very high risk” (mount St. Helens number two), according to National Geographic, partly due to large lava flows that it vomited from may to August 2018.