I was curious so I started researching the major weather related disasters since Harvey. I started to feel dirty after a while, as if I was engaging in disaster porn but my intent was to pull together a list of unprecedented weather events over the last year and a half, just because they start to blur together as our collective memory of one event is erased by the next. This is since August 2017 in roughly chronological order:
Hurricane Harvey – 60" of rain. $125 billion in damage, costliest hurricane in US history
Sierra Leone floods and landslides – 1000 people killed.
India floods – Worst floods to hit South Asia in decades, 24 million people affected
Hurricane Irma – Most intense hurricane since Katrina. Barbuda virtually destroyed. Cuba, St Martin, Virgin Islands and Florida all saw significant damage and flooding
Hurricane Maria – Puerto Rico devastated. Close to 5,000 dead, $94 billion of damage
Northern California wildfires – $14.5 billion in damage, 44 dead, close to 100,00 evacuated. Worst fires in California history at the time.
Southern California wildfires – Including the Thomas fire. New most destructive fire in California history. $3.5 billion in damage, over 300,000 acres burned, over 230,00 evacuated
Montecito mudslides – 21 people killed. $200 million in damage
Maryland flooding – 9.7’ of rain in two hours. A “thousand year storm.”
Pakistan heat wave – Temperatures above 104 degrees for several days. 180 dead.
Wildfires in Greece – 126 dead. 6th most deadly wildfie event in recorded history
Japan flooding and landslides – Highest rainfall totals in Japan’s history. 225+ killed. Almost $10 billion in damage
India Floods – Worst floods in 100 years. 483+ dead. Over 1 million people evacuated.
North Korean flooding and landslides – 151 people dead
Nigerian floods – Over 200 people dead, massive cholera outbreak killing another 100+, nearly 600,00 homeless
British Columbian wildfires – Over 3.3 million acres burned (worst in Canadian history). Smoke from fires disrupted air travel and reached as far as Ireland.
Hurricane Florence – 43 dead. 36 inches of rain in North Carolina. Wettest hurricane in recorded history for the Carolinas, $24 billion in damage.
Hurricane Michael – 3rd most intense hurricane in US history based on pressure, fourth highest winds in US history. 72 deaths, $25 billion in damage.
2018 California wildfires – Deadliest wildfires in California history. 89 people killed in the Camp and Woolsey fires. 1.9 million acres burned. $3.5 billion in damage. Town of Paradise virtually destroyed.
Record high temperatures throughout 2018 included highest every temperatures recorded for Aremenia, Japan, Russia, Belfast, Montreal and on and on. Oman was over 109 degrees for over a day, the hottest low temperature in recorded history. Worst droughts on record for Germany and Hungry.
2019 Midwest flooding – Record flooding expected to last well into May. 200 million people affected. Damage already at $1.6 billion for Iowa, $1.4 billion for Nebraska. Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois also likely in the billions already.
Cyclone Idai – Worst tropical cyclone on record for Southern Hemisphere. 600+ dead, 2.6 million affected, 90% of Beira, Mozambique’s second largest city, destroyed.
“Lesser” disasters (bad but not unprecedented):
Typhoon Marey – 142 dead, widespread flooding
Cyclone Mora – Over 200 dead, 40 million affected by flooding across South Asia