Last year, various swaths of the U.S. experienced severe weather events, from scorching heat and raging wildfires to record flooding and tornado clusters.
In the wake of rebuild efforts scattered across the country, there is mounting evidence to suggest that certain weather patterns may become more persistent (and also destructive) in the future due to the effects of global warming.
Key findings from the Environment Maine report include:
- Since 2006, federally declared weather-related disasters affected all 16 Maine counties. Recent weather-related disasters in Maine included blizzards in December 2010; torrential rains in February 2010 that created record tidal surges, knocked out power to 133,000 homes and caused $5 million in damage; and Hurricane Irene, which damaged nearly 200 roads and a dozen bridges.
- In 2011 alone, federally declared weather related disasters affected four Maine counties housing 320,000 people. Nationally, the number of disasters inflicting more than $1 billion in damage (at least 14) set a record last year, with damages totaling least $55 billion.
- Nationally, federally declared weather-related disasters have affected counties housing 242 million people since 2006—or nearly four out of five Americans.
Heavy Rains on the Horizon?