Extreme weather such as tornadoes, tropical cyclones, flooding, wildfires, snow, icestorms, and droughts are major weather events that batter portions of the United States each year. Just as we saw in 2012, many Americans felt the impact of record heat, drought, and Hurricane Sandy—the major weather-related disasters of last year.
For those victims of commercial and residential property damage caused by disastrous storms, they may be surprised to learn just how many people have been affected by extreme weather events over the past few years.
The Environment American Research and Policy Center released a new report, titled “In the Path of the Storm,” which reveals about 243 million people live in counties across the U.S. that have experienced at least one weather-related disaster from 2007-2012. This data gathered from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over six years indicates that about 80 percent of the nation’s population are affected by extreme weather events.
Some of the report’s findings show just how many Americans are affected by such adverse weather events during the six year period, including:
- Flooding affected 176 million people.
- Snow and icestorms affected 111 million people.
- Tropical cyclones affected 102 million people.
- Tornadoes affected 82 million people.
- Drought affected 63.5 million people (as of February 2013).
- Wildfires affected 30 million people.
The Plains states proved to be in the most disaster-prone area. For example, five counties in Oklahoma declared 10 or more weather-related disasters over the past six years. The report shows that the nation as a whole is vulnerable to weather-related disasters, as every state but South Carolina had at least one county declared a federal disaster area. The report further highlights the following:
- Sandy was the costliest weather disaster since Hurricane Katrina and the costliest hurricane to strike the East Coast, causing more than $70 billion in damages.
- In 2012, 11 weather disasters caused over $1 billion in economic losses.
- In 2012, 77 million Americans lived in counties that experienced federally declared weather-related disasters.
- About 4 out of 5 Americans live in counties that have been deemed federal disaster areas over the past six years.
The data in this report shows us that extreme weather events are inevitable in the coming years. Furthermore, as the Earth’s climate warms, a spike in severe storms and heat waves is expected. What this means for the majority of Americans is that they will likely have to file an insurance claim for property damages at some point in the coming decades.
In light of this information, the insurance claim attorneys at the Voss Law Firm urge every American to make sure they have enough insurance to cover them in the likelihood of a natural disaster. You can do this by reviewing your insurance policy and reviewing our educational materials and free reports we have on our website, or you can call us at 888-614-7730 for a free consultation today.