The extreme weather of 2010 was record-setting. But it may be the new normal. This year Americans have already suffered through “supercell thunderstorms” in Iowa, severe drought and record wildfires in Texas, and heavy rains across the United States. The recent southeastern storms and tornados took at least 340 lives across eight states. And residents of the Mississippi River Valley only narrowly avoided the most severe, damaging floods there in nearly a century.
The Center for American Progress’s “Year of Living Dangerously” report and this video highlight the damage from extreme weather in 2010—including the 1,000-year flood in Nashville, Tennessee, and the “snowmageddon” across along the East Coast—and the connection to global warming. This summary of climate science can help provide context to the recent surge in extreme weather events.
We determined in the report that the extreme weather of 2010 exacted a huge human and economic toll. More than 380 people died and 1,700 were injured due to weather events in the United States. The magnitude of these events forced the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to declare 81 disasters. For nearly 60 years the annual average was 33. Total economic damages in 2010 exceeded a whopping $6.7 billion.
We must promptly begin to reduce carbon dioxide and other pollutants before the “year of living dangerously” occurs every year.
- Interactive Map: Extreme Weather Across the Nation by Valeri Vasquez and Ben Kaldunski
- The Year of Living Dangerously by Daniel J. Weiss, Valeri Vasquez, and Ben Kaldunski