The Rising Cost of Severe Storms
As if 2020 didn’t bring enough drama to the table, it also became a record-setting year for weather and climate disasters. Of all the years in history for which we have data, 2020 was the most financially destructive.
2020 saw 22 official weather disasters (which are defined as events that cause at least a billion dollars in damages), plus a host of other damaging storms not counted in that statistic. There were so many hurricanes and tropical storms that the NWS had to dip into the Greek alphabet for only the second time in history just to be able to name them all.
Not Only Hurricanes
Although it’s easy to understand why hurricanes would bring immense destruction and cause large amounts of monetary damage, they’re not doing it all. In fact the most expensive disasters of 2020 in the contiguous United States were thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Fourteen of the official weather disasters of the year were severe thunderstorms, some of which unleashed ravaging tornadoes as well. Thunderstorms happen everywhere, in every season, and there’s no avoiding them. They happen inland and on the coast, Seattle to South Beach, and everywhere in between.
One example of what a single storm system can become: In August 2020, a seemingly typical line of thunderstorms in eastern Nebraska exploded into a derecho (think of something like a tornado, but with straight-line winds instead of swirling ones, combined with a heavy thunderstorm) which impacted more than 10 million acres of corn fields, almost half the state’s corn crop—that’s over 11% of the entire country’s corn fields. This same storm tore through eastern Iowa, including right here in Clinton County, producing winds up to 140 miles per hour.
Not Only 2020
Unfortunately, when it comes to weather, 2020 seems to be more like a new normal than an outlier. It was the 10th consecutive year with at least eight billion-dollar disasters. 2018 and 2019 saw a combined $136 billion in damages, and 2017 saw a damage total of over $300 billion, the highest total on record.
The bottom line is that storms are inevitable, and their frequency and intensity show no signs of diminishing. As a home or business owner, you should take whatever precautions are possible to minimize any damage to your property and keep yourself and any family living with you safe.
And should those precautions give way to property damage, you’ve got a friend in the restoration industry whose goal it is to recover your valued items and restore your property “Like it never even happened.”
When storms do damage, we go to work to make things right. Contact SERVPRO today to see how we can help.