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Rising Threat: U.S. Grapples with 25 Billion-Dollar Disasters, Heightening Concerns of Increased Flooding Ahead

Floods in Virginia | Windsorite News

In addition to the catastrophic severe weather that has already occurred this year, NASA warned that if a strong El Niño develops, regions of the country may see further floods this winter.

Recent NASA research indicates that the year’s extreme weather events may not be done yet. The United States has already had a record 25 weather catastrophes this year, each of which has caused at least $1 billion in damage.

In its monthly climate report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provided information on the nation’s billion-dollar severe weather occurrences for the first ten months of the year on Wednesday.

The report states that October was the 18th hottest month in NOAA’s 129-year climate record, with an average temperature of 56.1 degrees Fahrenheit in the contiguous United States, 2.0 degrees higher than the average for the 20th century.

Vermont and New Hampshire tied for the third-warmest October temperatures ever recorded, with Maine coming in second. The top ten hottest Octobers on record were recorded in six additional states: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Connecticut.

With 2.14 inches of precipitation on average over the Lower 48, which is 0.05 of an inch less than usual, the month fell into the middle third of the historical record for October precipitation.

While no state had an October that was in the top ten wettest on record, North Carolina saw its tenth-driest October ever.

With two months remaining in 2023, the total of 25 catastrophes this year is already more than any other year since NOAA began keeping such data in 1980.

Major catastrophes this year included flooding in the Northeast and California, a catastrophic wildfire in Hawaii, Hurricane Idalia in August, a heat wave and drought that shook the Midwest and South, and other severe storms around the nation.

The Hawaii wildfire was remembered, as firefighters say, as the winds persisted in their ferocity, whipping through the homes and across the fields. Trees were falling, power lines were breaking, and houses were collapsing. According to Kohler, a crew from a neighboring station and another vehicle from the Lahaina station were responding to some of the calls. Crews from other stations were stranded an hour’s drive away due to a bigger brush fire that was raging on the opposite side of the island.

Kohler remembered, “I was kind of just in awe as I watched houses and roofs just getting torn apart, piece after piece after piece, just flying through the air.” 60 mph was indicated by her portable wind meter. “I was wondering how much stronger it would grow after hearing that it would only get stronger.”

At nine in the morning, when Maui County proclaimed it 100% contained, it meant that although it was completely enclosed, it was not necessarily out of the picture. Later, the head of the firefighters union and the fire chief said that the fire was out. According to a county attorney, firefighters had sprayed the field with around 23,000 gallons of water. She added that Kohler and the others stayed there for many hours, keeping an eye out for flare-ups and waiting for utility workers to repair downed electrical lines.

NASA stated in different research that if a severe El Niño forms this winter, there may be more flooding in some portions of the United States. The eastern tropical Pacific Ocean has warmer-than-normal waters during El Niño, a naturally occurring climatic trend. The phenomenon usually causes climatic anomalies and extremes and has an impact on rainfall, hurricanes, severe storms, and global temperatures.

NASA scientists warned that communities along the western coast may see more frequent high-tide flooding, which may submerge low-lying structures and convert roadways into streams, if a severe El Niño occurs this winter.

According to NOAA authorities, weather-related and climate-related disasters have caused more than $73.8 billion in damage so far in 2023. The previous record of 22 billion-dollar extreme weather catastrophes set in 2020 was greatly surpassed by 25 disasters in just 10 months.

This depressing milestone is only one more in an already harsh year.

The nonprofit group Climate Central published an investigation that revealed that the worldwide average temperatures from November 2022 to October 2023 were 1.32 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than preindustrial norms, making this the hottest year ever recorded.

October of last year was the warmest on record worldwide, according to a different study issued on Wednesday by Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. This makes it the sixth consecutive month this year to hold that unpleasant distinction. According to scientists, the October record almost ensures that 2023 will go down in history as the hottest year ever.

Water levels in several Mississippi River regions reached historic lows due to warm October temperatures and the worsening drought in the lower Mississippi Valley, according to NOAA.

Wide-ranging effects have resulted from the low water levels: crops in the Midwest are at risk, transportation along the important canal is hampered, and the availability of clean drinking water in southern Louisiana is impacted.

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