4 out of 5 Americans Affected by Weather-Related Disasters Since 2006, Study Finds

Climate Change Worsens Many of These Disasters

Figure 1. County-level map of federally-declared weather-related disasters between 2006 – 2011. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in the Midwest, and heavy rains and snows from Nor’easters, hurricanes, and other storms in the Northeast gave those two regions the most disaster declarations. An interactive version of this map that allows one to click and see the individual disasters by county is on the Environment America website.

by Jeff Masters, reposted from the WunderBlog

Since 2006 , federally declared weather-related disasters in the United States have affected counties housing 242 million people–or roughly four out of five Americans. That’s the remarkable finding of Environment America, who last week released a detailed report on extreme weather events in the U.S.

The report analyzed FEMA data to study the number of federally declared weather-related disasters. More than 15 million Americans live in counties that have averaged one or more weather-related disasters per year since the beginning of 2006. Ten U.S. counties–six in Oklahoma, two in Nebraska, and one each in Missouri and South Dakota–have each experienced ten or more declared weather-related disasters since 2006. South Carolina was the only state without a weather-related disaster since 2006.

The report did a nice job explaining the linkages between extreme weather events and climate change, and concluded, “The increasing evidence linking global warming to certain types of extreme weather events–underscored by the degree to which those events are already both a common and an extremely disruptive fact of life in the United States–suggests that the nation should take the steps needed now to prevent the worst impacts of global warming and to prepare for the changes that are inevitably coming down the road.”

Jeff Masters is co-founder of the Weather Underground. This piece was originally published at the WunderBlog.

9 Responses to 4 out of 5 Americans Affected by Weather-Related Disasters Since 2006, Study Finds

  1. Peter says:

    The northeast is effected- since it is the clearinghouse for weather systems.

    The heartland just west of the Mississippi from Arkansas north to the Canadian border is a meeting place of weather masses. I living in Connecticut feel like ‘what is next’ in weather & climate- a very distressing reality.

  2. wallydanger says:

    NOT “4 out of 5 Americas” but 4 out of COUNTIES. Big diff. Huge, in fact.

  3. wallydanger says:

    Americans. sorry for the typo

  4. Raul M. says:

    Seems food pricing has affected across the country not just in this area.

  5. Chris Winter says:

    Wallydanger wrote “NOT “4 out of 5 Americans” but 4 out of 5 COUNTIES. Big diff. Huge, in fact.”

    Maybe. A tornado probably won’t directly affect all the people in one county. A hurricane probably would. It depends on how you define “affect.” If the tornado takes out a bridge that I use to get to work, I’m affected even though my city is untouched.

    In economic terms, it’s likely that everyone in America is affected.

  6. Chris Winter says:

    I may perhaps be forgiven for the tendency to gloat I felt when first I noticed that central Oklahoma has been most heavily hit.

  7. Lara says:

    I honestly don’t see how this is possible. How could 4 out of 5 ‘people’ in the US have been affected by weather related disasters? This just doesn’t make sense.

  8. Chris Winter says:

    Some of the possibilities are:

    * The price of food
    * The price of insurance
    * Time and cost of a longer commute due to highway damage

  9. wallydanger says:

    Forget possibilities. The headline is certainly inaccurate, misleading and sensational. The chart and data are about counties, not individuals.