Another Once-in-a-Century Event….

The East Coast is set to welcome tropical storm Sandy this week.  The potential damage is expected to be especially pronounced in the the Mid-Atlantic and New York tri-state areas.  Here are a few of the recent headlines:

This storm adds to the dozens (if not hundreds) of natural disaster events over the last 24 to 36 months which have been 1-in-50 or 1-in-100 year events.  Here are just a few of the events I’ve tracked over the last 2-3 years:

  • 12/16/09: East Coast USA Blizzard. Two feet of snow in 24 hours in DC Metro. Single largest December storm since 1909.
  • 2/6/10: East Coast USA Blizzard (Snowmageddon). Second largest storm since 1872 in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Philadephia’s first winter with multiple 20”+ storms
  • 5/3/10: Nashville, TN floods
  • 8/03/10: Nowshera, Pakistan. Twelve feet of rainfall in 1 week (average 3 feet a year)
  • 2/22/11 Christchurch, NZ earthquake.  New Zealand suffered its worst natural disaster in 80 years.
  • 3/11/11 Tohoku Eathquake and Tsunami: worst natural disaster in Japan in 100 years.
  • 6/11 China floods: worst in 50 years. Displaced 5 million people.
  • 6/23/11  Souris River North Dakota breached record high set in 1881
  • 5/11 Texas Drough: Driest 7-month Span on Record
  • 5/24/2011 Joplin Tornado: worst in 50+ years, deadliest single tornado. 2011 was the deadliest year for tornadoes in over 50 years (did 2012 beat this?)
  • 8/11 Russia Heat Wave worst in 1000 years
  • 10/3/11 Thailand Floods: worst in 50 years.
  • 02/12 European Cold Wave: worst in 25 years.
  • 2/29/12 Harrisburg, Illinois Tornado: 6 dead (only 6 have been killed by February tornados in Illinois since 1950).
  • Summer 2012 US Drought: The mean temperature for June-August 2012 (74.41°F) was the 3rd warmest summer on record. The mean temperature for June-August 2011 (74.30°F) was the 2nd warmest summer on record.  The record is 1936 – 75 years ago. More than half of the U.S. spent June 2012 in a moderate or extreme drought, the widest incidence of drought in half a century.
We can look back further and see even more evidence that we are seeing a huge ramp-up of 1-in-50+ year events.
  • 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami was deadliest ever and 3rd largest earthquake.  Three of the top seven worst earth quakes have happened since 2004.