January 2012
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Billie Silvey
FIRE/AIR
Here in the U.S., nearly 1,000 all-time weather records were set in
2011, including triple-digit heat and drought, tornadoes and floods.  A
record 10
extreme disasters cost the nation over a billion dollars each.

It started in January when a massive
blizzard caused $2 billion of
damage and paralyzed cities from Chicago to the northeast.  Since that
time, nearly every month has racked up a weather catastrophe costing
over a billion dollars, three times the total of the past three decades and
twice the number recorded in the 1990s.

In July,
Oklahoma set a record for the hottest month ever in any state,
and
Houston had a record string of 24 days in August with
temperatures over 100 degrees.  And it didn't even cool down when
the sun set, with record nighttime highs.

"These events are abnormal," said
Tom Karl of NOAA's National
Climatic Data Center.  "But it's part of an ongoing trend we've seen
since 1980."

Deadly
fires burned across Texas as eight inches of rain fell on New
Orleans from tropical storm Lee.
Tornadoes struck in 21 states, including
Oklahoma (left),  Tuscaloosa, Alabama
(below), and
Joplin, Missouri (bottom).
Earth and Water
Learning from
Disasters