by Jeff Masters, cross-posted from WunderBlog
A remarkable blitz of extreme weather events during 2011 caused a total of 32 weather disasters costing at least $1 billion worldwide. Five nations experienced their most expensive weather-related natural disasters on record during 2011 — Thailand, Australia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia.
According to insurance broker AON Benfield’s November Catastrophe Report, the U.S. was hit by no less than seventeen punishing multi-billion dollar extreme weather disasters in 2011; NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center official total is lower–twelve–but is likely to grow in number as additional damage statistics are tallied. Brazil experienced its deadliest weather-related natural disaster — a flash flood that killed 902 people in January, and the Philippines had its second deadliest flood ever, when Tropical Storm Washi killed over 1200 people in December.
It was difficult to pick a top ten list of top weather events of 2011 from this bewildering list of candidates, and I cheated a bit by giving a tie for tenth place, so that eleven events would make the list. My list of top weather events were chosen based on their impact to society and meteorological significance. Damage estimates and death tolls for the 2011 disasters were mostly taken from AON Benfield’s November Catastrophe Report, and records for damages and death tolls from disasters in previous years was taken from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED.)
Here, then, is this year’s top ten list. I’ve included links to some of my blogs posts made at the time of the disaster.