This was a record year for wild weather. In 2011, there were at least 2,941 monthly weather records broken in communities this year throughout the U.S., according to researchers at the Natural Resources Defense Council who unveiled a new Web-based weather mapping tool Thursday.
The interactive weather map captures the full range of extreme weather events that gripped communities across the country this year, from the raging wildfires that ravaged areas of Texas to flooding in parts of the Midwest and Northeast. The map is intended to educate the public on the growing impact of climate change on extreme weather.
The survey found at least 1,302 heat-related records, 1,090 rainfall records and 549 snowfall records were broken in counties across the nation. The damage caused by the weather extremes has cost an estimated $53 billion.
“This alarming, yet illuminating data is indicative of what we can expect as climate change continues,” said Kim Knowlton, NRDC senior scientist who spearheaded the development of the Web-based tool.
NRDC is calling on elected officials to make solving climate change a top national priority. Experts warn that if left unaddressed, climate change could intensify extreme weather events and place a tremendous toll on human health in years to come.
APHA’s Get Ready campaign can help you prepare for weather-related events. Free fact sheets and other materials are available on the Get Ready website in English and Spanish.