2011 set a new record of 12 separate billion+ dollar US weather/climate disasters according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The aggregate damage total is estimated to be approximately $52 billion. This record year breaks the previous record of nine billion-dollar weather/climate disasters in one year, which occurred in 2008. These twelve disasters alone resulted in the tragic loss of 646 lives, with the National Weather Service reporting over 1,000 deaths across all weather categories for the year.
U.S. Climate Highlights – Year-to-Date
For the first 11 months of 2011, the U.S. was warmer than average. Much of the warmth was anchored across the Southern Plains and along the Eastern Seaboard. Delaware and Texas were record warm for the January-November period with statewide temperatures 3.2 degrees F and 2.5 degrees F above their long-term averages respectively. Only Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington were cooler than average during the period.
Nationally-averaged precipitation totals for January-November were near the long-term average, but significant differences between regions existed. Texas was record dry for the11-month period, with a statewide precipitation total of 12.0 inches which stands as 14.0 inches below average. For the year-to-date period, the Ohio Valley and Northeast had very wet conditions with Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont each having the wettest January-November period on record.
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, News Release – Dec 7, 2011