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32 Extreme Weather Disasters Caused Over $1B Damage Each In 2011

Cyclone Yasi, Australia

2011 was a record-breaking year for extreme weather events around the world. There were 32 extreme weather events worldwide that each caused over $1 billion damage. Four disasters cost more than $10 billion each.

Tens of thousands of people were killed in various floods, droughts and severe storms. The drought in Somalia, which helped cause a famine, caused the death of over 30,ooo people; many were children.

There were huge floods in Brazil, Colombia, Pakistan, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The worst flood damage of the year, in terms of economic cost, was in Thailand. It amounted to around 18% of the country’s GDP.

In addition, we reported recently that lawmakers in Thailand are even considering building a second capital or moving Bangkok to higher ground. It would become the first megacity in the world to do so.

As you can see from the table below, the United States certainly did not escape extreme weather damage in 2011. In fact, the U.S. experienced more than a dozen weather disasters exceeding $1 billion of damage.

Meteorologist Jeff Masters, co-founder of  Weather Underground, has put together this revealing and rather alarming table on the 2011 extreme weather distasters.

Jeff says that damage estimates and death tolls for the 2011 disasters were mostly taken from AON Benfield’s November Catastrophe Report.
Billion dollar weather disasters 2011

I encourage you to read Jeff’s comprehensive post, Top ten weather events of 2011.

Let’s hope that 2012 doesn’t bring forth a similar number of extreme weather events around the world. Whatever the case this coming year, climate scientists are predicting that floods and droughts will occur more frequently, and storms are likely to become more intense as the years roll on, as the already locked-in amount global warming starts to bite.

Seems like we might be in for a wild ride. What do you think?

Image: Wunderblog
Feature Image: Cyclone Yasi reaches category 5 as it approaches Australia early in 2011

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