2022 was another destructive year for weather disasters across the United States. According to data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the nation endured at least 16 separate weather disasters in 2022, with costs that each exceeded $1 billion. Including the rare Hurricane Nicole in November, a Category 1 hurricane that made landfall in Florida near Vero Beach.
There have been more than 350 weather-related deaths across the USA this year.
In addition to dealing with tornadoes and other severe weather in December alone, states are still working to recover from earlier extreme weather disasters. Two major hurricanes, flooding in Central Appalachia, wildfires in the Western states, and ongoing drought conditions continue to cause recovery issues on top of disasters. A glance at the weather-related events this year:
Peak tornado season is typically from May to early June, according to NOAA. Research conducted by the organization shows there is a 12% and 15% possibility that a tornado would strike in December. Although rare, tornadoes in December are not uncommon.
There were a total of 1,785 tornadoes in the U.S. as of Monday. The month of March recorded the highest number of tornadoes this year with 586.
The majority of tornadoes reported occurred in Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
The National Centers for Environmental Information of NOAA reports that July 2022 was the sixth warmest July on record for the whole planet. Forty-one states are experiencing moderate drought conditions. Exceptionally dry hot weather continued in the West this year causing approximately 117 heat-related fatalities in Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon and Texas. The U.S. has suffered billion-dollar losses as a result of the drought from lower crop production and higher feed expenses for cattle.
Even now, the nation’s largest water supplier has declared a drought emergency for all of Southern California, clearing the way for potential mandatory water restrictions early next year that could impact 19 million people.
Scientists have warned that drought intensification is a result of global warming, mainly from rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
There have been 14 named storms overall, eight hurricanes, and two major hurricanes as of mid-November (Category 3 or above), ranking below 2021’s 21 named storms, seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes. A typical season has 14 storms. 2020 broke the record for the highest number of tropical/subtropical named storms in a single year with 30. Hurricane Ian caused the most destruction with losses estimated from $53 billion to $72 billion, according to RMS, an analytics company that manages catastrophic risk.
Although the official hurricane season runs from June to November, hurricanes in November are rare. This occurs as a result of altered wind patterns and reduced ocean temperatures, which reduce the possibility of a hurricane forming at this time of year. Hurricanes do occasionally strike during this month. Since 1851, just three storms that developed in November have hit Florida, including Hurricane Nicole.
In the U.S., floods are the most frequent and expensive natural disaster. They are to blame for both the destruction of inland and coastal communities.
The majority of flooding occurs from early April to September, which also happens to be hurricane and tropical storm season. Unusually heavy rains and subsequent flooding affected 2.8 million people across the country causing thousands of homes to be destroyed or damaged, forcing many to relocate.
California had the most wildfires and acres burned nationwide, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. As of Monday, there have been 64,835 fires that burned 7,421,439 acres. Since 2000, an annual average of 70,072 wildfires burned an annual average of 7.0 million acres. Dry and windy conditions strained states across the West, allowing for extended wildfire season.
Every year, as much as 90% of all wildfires are caused by humans, on average, across the country, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. In comparison to human-caused wildland fires, which typically burn 45 acres on average, lightning-caused flames typically consumed 402 acres.
Contributing Cady Stanton and Doyle Rice/USA TODAY
SOURCE NOAA, NWS Storm Prediction Center and AP
11:08 am UTC Dec. 16, 2022
11:08 am UTC Dec. 16, 2022
Visit our sponsors
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is the cheaper, easier way to send money abroad. It helps people move money quickly and easily between bank accounts in different countries. Convert 60+ currencies with ridiculously low fees - on average 7x cheaper than a bank. No hidden fees, no markup on the exchange rate, ever.