The Decade’s Biggest Weather & Climate Disasters

There is generally always a time of reflection at the end of the year, and even more so at the end of a decade. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is responsible for monitoring and assessing the climate, and one of the ways they so is by tracking and evaluating the climate events that have great economical and societal impacts. These include drought, flooding, freezes, severe storms, tropical cyclones, wildfires, and winter storms. We’ve gathered together a list of the ten events that had the greatest economic impact between 2010-2019. Note that the total cost of several events from 2019 are still being calculated, including:

  • Tropical Storm Imelda – September 2019; Imelda represents the fifth 500-year flood that has impacted a portion of southeast Texas over the last five years;
  • Hurricane Dorian – September 2019; Dorian’s intensification to a category 5 storm marks the fourth consecutive year, in which a maximum category 5 storm developed in the Atlantic basin – a new record;
  • Mississippi River, Midwest and Southern Flooding – July 2019; historic flooding impacting agriculture, roads, bridges, levees, dams and other assets across many cities and towns;
  • Arkansas River Flooding – June 2019; historic flooding impacts thousands of homes, cars and businesses  due a combination of high rivers, levee failure and persistently heavy rainfall from May 20 through mid-July;
  • Missouri River and North Central Flooding – March 2019; historic Midwest flooding inundates millions of acres of agriculture, numerous cities and towns and causes widespread damage to roads, bridges, levees and dams
Hurricane María approaching Puerto Rico on September 19, 2017. NOAA GOES-16 satellite image overlaid on NASA Blue Marble background image. Image by Tim Loomis, NOAA Satellites group. 
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Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

We at Shade Tree Meteorology are taking some time this week to enjoy some family time and spend the holidays with our loved ones, and we hope you are able to do the same. As we look back on 2019, we have seen some big changes happen, both professionally and personally. We have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog for you each week and we hope you enjoy this look back at our favorite blog posts of 2019!

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Wild Early Fall Weather

The autumnal equinox was just over a week ago, and already it seems as though winter is knocking at the door in some parts of the country. Meanwhile, other parts of the United States are enduring record-breaking heat. Let’s take a look at some of the recent headline-making weather events around the nation.

Glacier National Park after an early season snowstorm, September 2019. Courtesy NPS.
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What is NOAA, and what is its mission?

Many of us turn to the National Weather Service for weather warnings and forecasts, but did you know that the National Weather Service is only one part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA? Our tax dollars help to fund this agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, so let’s look deeper at the mission of this very important organization and its offices.

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National Parks and Severe Weather

At this point in midsummer, it is hard NOT to have the outdoor bug, and many of us in the U.S. will head to our National Parks to enjoy the outdoors in a variety of ways. Did you know that Yellowstone was the first National Park, established in 1872? President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) is possibly the most well-known supporter of the development of the National Park System; during his terms in office, the number of National Parks doubled. The legislation known as the Antiquities Act, which he signed into law, gave him and future presidents the ability to declare historic landmarks and national monuments, many of which are part of the National Park System today. At our wide array of National Parks, Seashores, Reserves, Battlefields, Monuments, and Historic Sites, visitors can learn about the history and culture of our country, as well as enjoy and appreciate the huge variety of climates and beautiful scenery that exist in the United States.

Canyonlands National Park. Credit: NPS/Neal Herbert.
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Great Plains Severe Weather and Tornadoes: May 20, 2019

A storm system moving into the Great Plains this past Monday resulted in an outbreak of severe weather, including flooding and some tornadoes, across portions of Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. Thankfully, none of the reported tornadoes did extensive damage or caused widespread injuries. This was thanks in part to the fact that the tornadic storms did not hit major metropolitan areas, but also largely due to excellent communication of risk and appropriate preparedness actions by the National Weather Service. Let’s take a closer look at how this event unfolded…

Courtesy: KWTV-KOTV.
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