The summer brought all forms of destruction including; devastating fires, rain, drought, heat, tornadoes, landslides, and hurricanes. Experts estimated early on that the summer of 2017 would produce some challenges, and they weren't kidding. It is obvious that the increasing amount of severe weather events in our country correlate directly with climate change.
Top 10 Most Extreme Weather Events to Hit the United States - Summer 2017
It seems as the years go on, weather in the United States just keeps getting worse; more erratic, more unpredictable.
The year 2017 has yet to disappoint on that pattern. The summer of 2017 brought some serious, extreme weather that devastated the country, our people, and the economy.
Scientists and professionals alike have produced concerning report after concerning report. Although most would like to ignore the truth, climate change can easily be seen simply in the weather events occurring around us. Below there are 10 of these events; happening just this summer. As these events become more frequent, we waste more and more time. We must focus on the truth of climate change.
1. Record-Setting Heat in the Southwest
The Southwest experienced a bout of heatwaves on the very first days of summer. It was the worst heat the area had seen in years, with temperatures reaching more than 120 degrees in some cities.
Phoenix topped out at 119 degrees, but the high temperatures continued throughout the week. Many cities saw an influx of burn, heat stroke, and fatigue victims. Experts claimed the temperatures could be high enough to be considered deadly.
Those high temperatures have only ever been reached 2 or 3 times before in some of those cities, while others had broken their records all together. Airlines were grounded, many businesses opened up shelters for the homeless, and some cities were seeing water shortages.
2. Wildfires Raging in Oregon
The fires began in July and have been burning ever since. Oregon is has been experiencing the largest wildfire in the state in 13 years. It has covered countless miles of destruction, leading to thousands of evacuations. Droughts, mixed with high winds, dry air, and heat have brought a fire that was only a quarter of an acre large to more than 130,000 acres wide.
Experts have said that they do not expect the fires to subside much until the cooler season begins and they receive more rain. Storms have been extremely frequent this year, causing lighting fires but not bringing enough rain. The fires have even spread into Montana, forcing states to enlist the help of the National Guard to help evacuate and fight the flames.
3. Landslide in Big Sur, California
After a really harsh winter that ravaged them with floods and rain, California experienced the largest landslide in their history. It caused an estimated $1 billion in highway damage and though it may not seem weather-related, California's coast has become more prone to landslides because our record-setting rain and flooding.
The highway was covered 40-feet tall with dirt and rock. Luckily no one was injured or killed in the landslide, although experts expect landslides to become more and more common. Scientists have produced a concerning report that estimates California's rainfall is related to the amount of landslides they experience.
4. Record Flooding in Missouri
Around the 24th of May, the governor of Missouri requested disaster aid for more than 45 counties in the state. Storms and rain caused extensive flooding throughout the state, causing more than $28 million in residential damages and $58million in municipal damages.
Unfortunately for the state, this flooding event is just one in a long list of disastrous flooding.
While this particular incident caused minimal injuries and no deaths, Missouri has become a state known for their flooding disasters, with many events causing deaths in the past.
5. Extreme Fires Rage in California
While many parts of our nation are experiencing record rainfall and flooding, other parts of the nation have been experiencing record-breaking high temperatures and drought. Fires began breaking out in California in April, but intensified and spread as the summer hit. With not enough rain and too much heat, the fires began burning quickly through the state.
While a lot of the fire has been contained, some areas have not been contained. A reported 6,023 have broken out and spread across more than 500,000 acres. Thousands were evacuated from their homes, with many of them eventually being lost in the blaze. The widespread fire caused millions of dollars of residential damage, but the damage done to the landscape and wildlife cannot even be close to calculated.
6. Extreme Temperature Fluctuations in May
The beginning of May brought serious storm systems to the U.S., resulting in severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, flash floods, strong winds, and even blizzards. This storm system caused extreme drops and spikes in temperature all across the country. The cold met the heat, causing severe weather in the southern and western parts of the country.
More than 30 tornadoes were reported in the days preceding Arizona's 24-hour flash flood. Arizona experienced more than 10 inches in just 1 day, killing at least 7 people. In the areas affected by the cold front, temperatures dipped below freezing and more than 15 inches of snow fell in parks of Kansas. Parts of Colorado received close to 40 inches.
7. Monsoon Season in Arizona
Torrential rains fell again over Arizona in the middle of July, causing absolutely devastating flash flooding through the state, and in parts of California. Even though it is typically the season for monsoons, the rains came especially fast and hard this time.
Monsoon Flash Flooding in Arizona - 7/24/2017
An unseasonably moist air mass brought heavy rain to Arizona on July 24, 2017. Numerous Flash Flood Warnings were issued, including one for the Apache Juncti...
Four inches of rain doesn't sound like a lot, but when it comes very quickly it can cause serious damage. At least 9 people were killed in that short amount of time, with fast, raging rivers engulfing much of the landscape. Many people were injured by careening, floating debris and many homes and businesses were damaged.
8. 5 Days of Storms
In Mid-May, many states in the country experienced a wide variety of extreme weather. An area of low pressure pushed through the Great Plains and parts of the Midwest, causing severe thunderstorms, flash flooding, and tornadoes. High winds and hail damaged homes in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin on the 15th. The 16th saw 26 reports of tornadoes throughout the day in Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas. One tornado touched down in Wisconsin, killing 1 person and injuring 25.
On the 17th, more reports of tornadoes came from Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. Twenty more reports of tornadoes came in on the 18th, all the way from Kansas to northwest Texas; none of which did much damage. That same day however became the 4th busiest day regarding severe weather, with 340 reports. States as far north as New Hampshire and Maine experienced thunderstorms, extreme winds, and hail. The 19th and the 20th came with flash flooding and tornadoes in the Plains, causing extensive damage.
9. Tropical Storm Cindy
This storm was the third-named storm of the season, coming in mid-June from the Caribbean Sea. It first made landfall in Louisiana, weakening quickly but causing a ton of other issues. Tornadoes and flash flooding were spawned from the storm, killing at least 3 people total. States among the list of the affected include Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas.
Cindy's aftermath caused extreme flooding in Mississippi and Alabama, fires and winds in Tennessee and some extensive damage in Louisiana. More than 10,000 residents were without power and 6 fires were reported in these areas.
10. Hurricane Harvey
When experts said 2017 was going to be a bad year for weather events, they weren't kidding. When Hurricane Harvey made landfall at the end of August, it was a category 4 hurricane. Extremely strong winds and massive rains and flooding caused extensive damage, mostly to those in Texas and some parts of Louisiana. Thousands of people were evacuated from homes ahead of the storm, but many were stranded when the flooding started.
In Texas alone, more than 185,000 have been reported damaged and more than 9,000 destroyed. While the estimate is still pretty new, authorities have reported an estimated $1 billion worth of just residential damage so far. There were 45 deaths reported, although the number may climb as clean-up continues. Quick-rising waters stranded thousands of people; signaling a call for help that thousands from across the country heard. Its devastation has been compared to the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.
Each one of these events has occurred in a short amount of time, adding fuel to the climate change fire that is raging around the world. With Hurricane Harvey bringing the most devastation to our country so far this year, how many more 'Hurricane Harvey's must we experience before we take a stand against climate change? It's time to realize that extreme weather and climate change are related; and fight to preserve our way of life.
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