Storms Are More Active and More Costly | SERVPRO® of West Milwaukee
2020 was an incredibly disturbing year for everyone, and a devastating year for far too many. Multitudes of us were stricken by the COVID-19 virus in one way or another, and almost everyone suffered the mental taxation of an extended quarantine period.
And not to be outdone by producing the worst scourge in a hundred years, the year also became a historic one as it pertained to disastrous weather. In fact, 2020 saw more weather disasters than any previous year on record.
A storm or weather event that causes over a billion dollars in damage is officially classified as a weather disaster. Last year, the U.S. was afflicted by 22 of these events, as well as a troupe of others that (thankfully) didn’t quite make that kind of financial impact.
The Atlantic hurricane season was so productive, in fact, that the NOAA ran out of names, and for just the second time in history had to resort to using Greek letters to name storms.
Not Just Hurricanes
Hurricanes are often assumed to be the storm types that cause the most financial turmoil, but the most expensive disasters of 2020 in the contiguous United States were actually thunderstorms and tornadoes. Fourteen of the storms classified as disasters were storms of some type.
Here’s an extreme example of the damage possible because of a single system: A line of storms in Nebraska last August that would typically be no big worry banded together and churned into a razor-like storm called a derecho. The massive storm sliced through over 100 million acres of corn fields—that’s more than 150,000 square miles—compromising over 11% of the entire country’s corn production in one fell swoop.
Around here, we saw the edges of that derecho reach all the way up to the Great Lakes, and we had our share of other storms throughout the year, including record-setting snowfalls and flooding caused by heavy rains in August and November.
Not Just 2020
While we definitely hope 2021 and following years will be milder, we do seem to be on an upward trend of storm activity and intensity. Each year of the last 10 has endured at least eight billion-dollar disasters, and two of those years set the previous records for activity with 16 storms each. 2017 set a benchmark for damages caused, with over $300 billion in reconstruction expenses.
Precautions against storm and water damage are the responsibility of every property owner. But when extreme weather comes, sometimes those preparations are unable to withstand the fury of Mother Nature.
When storms do damage, we go to work to make things right. Contact SERVPRO today to see how we can help.