Storms Are The Most Dev­as­tat­ing Force Of Na­ture In The U.S.


Trop­i­cal Storm Har­vey pum­meled Hous­ton, with a year’s worth of rain­fall within a week. Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, the city was par­a­lyzed by the big­gest storm in the his­tory of the state of Texas, turn­ing roads into rivers and over­stretch­ing res­cue ser­vices to break­ing point. At least five peo­ple were re­ported to have died in the cat­a­strophic flood­ing while at least 2,000 had to be res­cued in Hous­ton and its sur­round­ings. In the first two days, 54 coun­ties across Texas had been de­clared disas­ter ar­eas while 3,000 na­tional and state guard mem­bers were ac­ti­vated to help the flood vic­tims.

Brock Long, di­rec­tor of the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, said that “this disas­ter is going to be a land­mark event,” while the cost is al­ready draw­ing com­par­isons with Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina which caused $108 billion of dam­age in 2005. As can be seen from the fol­low­ing in­fo­graphic com­piled with Na­tional Cen­ters For En­vi­ron­men­tal In­for­ma­tion data, trop­i­cal cy­clones have proven the worst U.S. nat­u­ral dis­as­ters over the past 30 years. Since 1987, they have caused just over 3,000 deaths and wreaked well over $500 billion worth of dam­age. Se­vere storms have also had a dev­as­tat­ing im­pact, with 1,400 deaths and a $193 billion cost. Droughts and their re­sult­ing heat­waves in­flicted a sim­i­lar toll, killing at least 1,633 peo­ple and in­flict­ing $190 billion in dam­age over the past three decades.

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