Fourteen U.S. billion-dollar weather disasters in 2011: a new record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:12 PM GMT on November 04, 2011

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It's time to add another billion-dollar weather disaster to the growing 2011 total of these costly disasters: the extraordinary early-season Northeast U.S. snowstorm of October 29, which dumped up to 32 inches of snow, brought winds gusts of 70 mph to the coast, and killed at least 22 people. Not since the infamous snow hurricane of 1804 have such prodigious amounts of October snow been recorded in New England and, to a lesser extent, in the mid-Atlantic states. Trees that had not yet lost their leaves suffered tremendous damage from the wet, heavy snow. Snapped branches and falling trees brought down numerous power lines, leaving at least 3 million people without electricity. The damage estimate in Connecticut alone is $3 billion, far more than the damage Hurricane Irene did to the state. Hundreds of thousands still remain without power a week after the storm, with full electricity not expected to be restored until Monday.


Figure 1. Wet, heavy snow from the October 29, 2011 snowstorm weighing down trees still sporting their fall leaves in Winchester, VA. Image credit: wunderphotographer MaddScientist98.

The October 29 snow storm brings the 2011 tally of U.S. billion-dollar weather disasters to fourteen, thoroughly smashing the previous record of nine such disasters, set in 2008. Between 1980 - 2010, the U.S. averaged 3.5 of these weather disasters per year. Through August, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) estimated that ten weather disasters costing at least $1 billion had hit the U.S., at total cost of up to $45 billion. However, the October 29 snow storm brings us up to eleven billion-dollar disasters, and a new disaster analysis done by global reinsurance company AON Benfield adds three more. Flood damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee in the Northeast on September 8 is now estimated at more than $1 billion, and two outbreaks of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes--one in April and one in June--now have damage estimates exceeding $1 billion. A remarkable seven severe thunderstorm/tornado outbreaks did more than $1 billion each in damage in 2011, and an eighth outbreak July 10 - 14 came close, with damages of $900 million. In total, the fourteen billion-dollar disasters killed 675 people. Tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods in these fourteen disasters killed over 600 people, putting 2011 into fourth place since 1940 for most deaths by severe storms. Only 2005, with over 1,000 deaths caused by Katrina, 1969, with over 700 hurricane and flood-related deaths, and 1972, with 676 hurricane and flood-related deaths, were deadlier years for storms, according to NOAA. The fourteen billion-dollar weather disasters of 2011 caused $53 billion in damage, putting 2011 in fifth place for most damages from billion-dollar weather disasters. The top damage years, according to NCDC in adjusted 2011 dollars, were 2005 (the year of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma), 2008 (Hurricane Ike), 1988 (Midwest drought), and 1980 (Midwest drought). With nearly two months remaining in 2011, the potential exists for more billion-dollar weather disasters this year. Our first opportunity comes Tuesday, when the NOAA Storm Prediction Center is forecasting the possibility of a severe weather outbreak centered over Arkansas and Missouri.


Video 1. Remarkable video of the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama during the April 25 - 30, 2011 Super Outbreak. This tornado outbreak was the most expensive U.S. weather-related disaster of 2011, with damages estimated at $9 billion. Fast forward to minute four to see the worst of the storm.

Here are AON Benfield's estimates of the damages and NCDC's estimates of the death tolls from 2011's fourteen billion-dollar weather disasters (a clickable version of this table with information on each disaster is available on our severe weather resource page):



Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll be back with a new post on Monday.

Angela Fritz is subbing for Ricky Rood this week, and has written an interesting post on the latest climate change controversy, the release of the new Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study by skeptic Dr. Richard Muller.

Jeff Masters

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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
531. DFWjc
Quoting Barefootontherocks:


Hi StormGoddess,
Was thinking of you last night and mentioned you in a post here. Good to see your comments. That thing lasted a full minute. I was awake, and last eve's quake was startling enough in this little corner of OK, let alone where you are. Glad you're okay. Best wishes to you and to all up there near the epicenters.
...

And the "aftershocks" continue...


There are also reports of building damage in Lincoln County. And apparently State Hwy 62 is cracked and broken. Not a big EQ by most standards but a big one for Oklahoma.


Yeah, we could feel some of those here in North Texas...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Wow... it's dark already and it's only 6:15.... lol

Definitely time has changed....


It got dark here in CT by 5:25 pm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hmmmm... chances on 98L have gone up a little bit.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
700 PM EST SUN NOV 6 2011

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

A NON-TROPICAL LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM LOCATED ABOUT 390 MILES
SOUTHWEST OF BERMUDA IS PRODUCING A LARGE AREA OF GALE-FORCE
WINDS OVER THE WEST-CENTRAL ATLANTIC. ALTHOUGH THE ASSOCIATED
THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY REMAINS LIMITED...THE LOW COULD GRADUALLY
ACQUIRE SOME SUBTROPICAL CHARACTERISTICS DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF
DAYS. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A
SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES LITTLE OR
DRIFTS SLOWLY WESTWARD. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS GALE AREA
CAN BE FOUND IN HIGH SEAS FORECASTS ISSUED BY THE NOAA NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE UNDER AWIPS HEADER NFDHSFAT1...AND UNDER WMO HEADER
FZNT01 KWBC.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER STEWART
NNNN

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14549
Quoting Tazmanian:



how have you been doing looks like the season is overe

I'm fine, how are you?

I'm not so sure the season is over...We may see 1 more named storm.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32506
guy, wouldn't at all surprise me to see 1-2 more storms, especially of the STS nature, between now and December. I note that MJO is supposed to be in the Indian Ocean for the next few days, but I think we r due at least one more round of upward motion over the Caribbean before the season is done. Meanwhile, we have proto-Sean apparently in the works....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'll be getting up before 5 am by the clock now...
which seems strange, but I normally get up just before sun-up
anyway have a good evening way up North there in Nassau...
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Quoting Tazmanian:
did you no that you can re move IE if you ues window 7 if you dont evere ues it

Yes.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32506
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:



....Stupid clock change I say
Dark by 6 pm here,
We are at 72 West
and should be on Atlantic time.
I don't mind so much. I really like having the light in the early mornings.... helps me get up when I'm supposed to, not when I want to.... lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Wow... it's dark already and it's only 6:15.... lol

Definitely time has changed....
I forgot to sleep in an extra hour today, I usually get outside when there is enough light to see...it's just another day!

Our swirlybob is growing its own convection now quite independent of the leading front, I see. Hmmm...another 'tweener in the making?

Looking forward to the NHC-bashing/defending wars whichever way they call it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Wow... it's dark already and it's only 6:15.... lol

Definitely time has changed....



....Stupid clock change I say
Dark by 6 pm here,
We are at 72 West
and should be on Atlantic time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow... it's dark already and it's only 6:15.... lol

Definitely time has changed....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Why bother. The pple who really own the economy said no already. Might as well talk about satellites from space causing earthquakes.


lasers, thats my guess
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6669
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Well thank god we figured that out, now can we get to the economy?
Why bother. Might as well talk about satellites from space causing earthquakes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
I think the Atlantic low SW of Bermuda needs to drop further south to have much of a chance of subtropical development. At least 2 degrees.

Sea Surface Temperatures are plenty warm to allow for Subtropical development.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32506
Quoting Tazmanian:



?
How r u doing, Taz... have not see u 4 a while...

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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
White House: There's no sign of E.T. or UFO cover-up


Well thank god we figured that out, now can we get to the economy?
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6669
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:


NOT a good time to be sailing near the Canary Islands...
active Underwater Volcano


Its pretty cool looking though. New Island wants to form.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6669
Chirp, Chirp. Chirp, chirp.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


NOT a good time to be sailing near the Canary Islands...
active Underwater Volcano

http://www.euronews.net/2011/11/06/canary-islands -volcano-threatens-residents/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
AlwaysThinking, thanks for that link. It seems a good bet the death toll will continue to rise.


Also concerned about Cambodia. There is not a lot of news coverage of the flood disaster there. I have a feeling it may be almost as deadly there as in Thailand.


You're welcome. I agree on Cambodia too.
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The Fish won their 1st game today. Finally.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 591
AlwaysThinking, thanks for that link. It seems a good bet the death toll will continue to rise.


Also concerned about Cambodia. There is not a lot of news coverage of the flood disaster there. I have a feeling it may be almost as deadly there as in Thailand.
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Oh, how about LSU and The Saints?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:




nevere mine him hes this other troll too poof a way on the ignore where they be long they like comeing out and massing with you a little bit
Taz, how they hanging?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
Nasty landslide in Colombia.

Here's another report from BBC Link
a quote:
Colombia is experiencing one of the worst rainy seasons in memory, forcing the evacuation of some 250,000 people.
Manizales in Colombia's coffee-growing region was worst hit by the mudslides.
At least 20 people were killed when a hillside collapsed in the city's Cervantes district.
Transport Minister German Cardona Gutierres said 16 homes were buried and more than 30 people were missing.
In nearby Quindio province, four people were killed when a landslide buried two homes.
Meteorologists said heavy rains were expected to continue throughout November and December, with double or triple the average rainfall possible.

Also it will affect coffee prices too (a much smaller problem than say loss of life, but it's the one we'll see in papers here). Link
The Andean nation may produce its smallest crop in two years in 2011 due to the excessive rainfall, said Mario Gomez, a board member of Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers. Output may slide to less than 8.5 million bags this year, he said last week. In August, the federation cut its forecast to 9 million bags, from 9.5 million previously.
“It keeps raining,” Volcafe said in a weekly report e- mailed today. “The access to the main ports remains difficult.”
Coffee flow within the country remains “disappointing,” the Winterthur, Switzerland-based coffee trader said in the report, adding that the volume of offers remained limited.

Anyone totaling up the floods for 2011?
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have a feeling that these next 3 days will represent the last major tornado outbreak of the year. Keep an eye on the sky.



...CENTRAL/SOUTHERN PLAINS TO OZARKS/ARKLATEX...
GIVEN THE LARGE SCALE SCENARIO AS DESCRIBED...SCATTERED TSTMS ARE
LIKELY TO BE ONGOING/INCREASE EARLY IN THE PERIOD WITHIN A WARM
ADVECTION/ISENTROPIC LIFT REGIME...AND THIS INCLUDES THE POSSIBILITY
OF ELEVATED STRONG/SEVERE TSTMS MAINLY CAPABLE OF HAIL ACROSS
NORTHWEST TX INTO OK MONDAY MORNING. WITH TIME...GIVEN THE ARRIVAL
OF DEEP FORCING FOR ASCENT AND A CONTINUALLY MOISTENING/DIURNALLY
WARMING BOUNDARY LAYER...CONDITIONS WILL BECOME MORE FAVORABLE INTO
THE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING HOURS FOR SURFACE BASED SEVERE TSTM
DEVELOPMENT...ESPECIALLY TO THE IMMEDIATE EAST OF THE GRADUALLY
DEEPENING SURFACE LOW/PERIPHERAL DRYLINE ACROSS NORTHWEST/PARTS OF
NORTH-CENTRAL TX INTO SOUTHWEST OK. HERE...SURFACE DEWPOINTS IN THE
LOWER/PERHAPS MIDDLE 60S F WILL BE PREVALENT BENEATH AN
EASTWARD-ADVECTING ELEVATED MIXED LAYER...WHICH SHOULD ALLOW FOR
MLCAPES TO REACH AS HIGH AS 1000-1500 J/KG BY AFTERNOON.

WHILE THE SPECIFIC DETAILS OF CONVECTIVE MODE ARE A BIT
UNCERTAIN...A MIXED MODE SEEMS PROBABLE WITHIN A HIGHLY SHEARED
ENVIRONMENT. THIS INCLUDES THE POSSIBILITY OF INITIAL MODE
SUPERCELLS ESPECIALLY ACROSS NORTHWEST/PARTS OF NORTH-CENTRAL TX TO
SOUTHWEST OK...ASIDE FROM A GENERAL TENDENCY FOR LINEAR/SQUALL
LINE-TYPE DEVELOPMENT MONDAY NIGHT ACROSS MUCH OF OK AND WEST/NORTH
TX...ESPECIALLY AS THE COLD FRONT BEGINS TO ACCELERATE EASTWARD LATE
MONDAY NIGHT/EARLY TUESDAY. OVERALL...ALL FACETS OF SEVERE WEATHER
WILL BE POSSIBLE...INCLUDING LARGE HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS...AND
TORNADOES...INCLUDING RISKS FOR A STRONG TORNADO GIVEN THE
INCREASINGLY LARGE/ELONGATED HODOGRAPHS THAT ARE EXPECTED ACROSS THE
WARM SECTOR BY MONDAY AFTERNOON/NIGHT.
..GUYER.. 11/06/2011
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I always feared falling through a crack all the way to the magma point!
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Nasty landslide in Colombia.
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:


Hi StormGoddess,
Was thinking of you last night and mentioned you in a post here. Good to see your comments. That thing lasted a full minute. I was awake, and last eve's quake was startling enough in this little corner of OK, let alone where you are. Glad you're okay. Best wishes to you and to all up there near the epicenters.
...

And the "aftershocks" continue...


There are also reports of building damage in Lincoln County. And apparently State Hwy 62 is cracked and broken. Not a big EQ by most standards but a big one for Oklahoma.



If you look at that list, does everyone else see that the longer the period of time between the quakes the stronger they are?
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6669
Quoting Articuno:

cool clouds
there are some showers in them
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Quoting LargoFl:
not so true, look at the pics woodyfl posted today from that alaskan quake...you surely could fall down in THAT hole in the road..maybe even your car

Those facts are for faults - they slide side to side. Not all earth movements are on faults. You can have divergent tectonic plate boundaries that spread forming gaps or rifts, and convergent that come together forming mountains.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
#477 --- There are a lot more powerful aftershocks in the mag 5 range then after the Virginia earthquake.


Feeling all those would be very creepy. I wouldn't like it one bit.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think the Atlantic low SW of Bermuda needs to drop further south to have much of a chance of subtropical development. At least 2 degrees.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's a fake vid of an earthquake swallowing a car.

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Also flooding in Europe.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
not so true, look at the pics woodyfl posted today from that alaskan quake...you surely could fall down in THAT hole in the road..maybe even your car


I think their point was that a fault can't open up deep into the earth and swallow you, there area many places under roads/streets that are hollow due to subways, sewers etc, or just from the uplift in small geographical areas. So it is possible to have small "holes".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting charlottefl:


The ground can open up during an earthquake.
FICTION: A popular cinematic and literary device is a fault that opens during an earthquake to swallow up an inconvenient character. But unfortunately for principled writers, gaping faults exist only in movies and novels. The ground moves across a fault during an earthquake, not away from it. If the fault could open, there would be no friction. Without friction, there would be no earthquake. Shallow crevasses can form during earthquake induced landslides, lateral spreads, or other types of ground failures. Faults, however, do not gape open during an earthquake.

USGS EQ FACTS
not so true, look at the pics woodyfl posted today from that alaskan quake...you surely could fall down in THAT hole in the road..maybe even your car
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Quoting Patrap:
Thailand Floods Death Toll: Over 500 Dead
gee it never seems to stop over there..death after death, in the hundreds every time
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:


Hi StormGoddess,
Was thinking of you last night and mentioned you in a post here. Good to see your comments. That thing lasted a full minute. I was awake, and last eve's quake was startling enough in this little corner of OK, let alone where you are. Glad you're okay. Best wishes to you and to all up there near the epicenters.
...

And the "aftershocks" continue...


There are also reports of building damage in Lincoln County. And apparently State Hwy 62 is cracked and broken. Not a big EQ by most standards but a big one for Oklahoma.

Thank you for your kind words BF. Good to see that you are alright. Best wishes to you and yours also. :)
Reports are out now that at that there is some severe damage to homes near Prague, and that at the epicenter the quake actually lasted for 6-7 minutes! How people did not lose their minds with it lasting that long I have no idea. That is incredible.
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Ahhh another troll with another funny name I can laugh at.It's quite hilarious to see them in action.Don't mind me folks.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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