US Experiences Historic Weather-Related Disasters in 2011

Posted September 8th, 2011 at 4:41 am (UTC-5)
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As hurricane season intensifies in the Atlantic Ocean and wildfires continue to ravage the southern state of Texas, officials are saying the U.S. has seen a historic number of destructive and costly weather disasters in 2011.

The National Climatic Data Center says the U.S. so far this year has suffered through a record-breaking 10 climate-related disasters, each causing over $1 billion in economic damage.

The most recent extreme weather event was Hurricane Irene, which caused massive floods and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes across the densely populated east coast in August.

Throughout much of the south and midwest, an extended heatwave and drought has caused over $5 billion in agricultural damage and sparked a series of deadly wildfires. In Texas, wildfires have destroyed more than 1,000 houses and burned over 50,000 hectares of land in recent weeks.

Other parts of the U.S. have also experienced massive blizzards, deadly tornadoes, and severe flooding in 2011.

Many scientists attribute the increased natural disasters to global warming, saying a warmer atmosphere is more likely to power dangerous storms.

The NCDC study estimates that, even before Hurricane Irene, this year disasters have meant a loss of $35 billion to the U.S. economy.