My thanks to storm chaser Ben McMillan for bringing this to my attention. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently added two wildfires to the list of weather related disasters this year that totaled more than a billion dollars in damages. That brings the total for the year up to 12, the most billion dollar disasters in one year even when inflation is taken into account.
The number could still go higher, as damage amounts are still being added up from Tropical Storm Lee. At any rate, the damage figures pale in comparison to the more than 1,000 who’ve died in these events. Many of these deaths came from the world year for tornado outbreaks in generations. Hundreds died during the mega-outbreak in April across six states. The most iconic image captured was of this tornado to the left that struck the Tuscaloosa area.
All of this occurred during a year which La Nina altered the nation’s weather patterns. The bad news is, La Nina is back in a never before seen repeat performance. How that will affect us in 2012, remains to be seen.