Monday, November 16, 2015

My Family Has Been Hit by Extreme Weather. Has Yours?

[Huffington Post] Three years ago, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on my hometown of Long Beach, New York--destroying the first floor of my brother's house along with dozens of homes and obliterating our two-mile boardwalk. In a nearby town my sister and her neighbors were without electricity for days. Many families suffered far worse; more than 140 in all were killed by the storm, and New York State alone racked up more than $40 billion in damage.
My family is not unique. Every year, weather-related disasters like Sandy injure or kill hundreds of Americans and cause billions of dollars in losses. And scientists say that warmer temperatures are now making some of these extreme weather events worse - including drought like the historic one still ravaging California, or intense rainstorms like those that flooded South Carolina last month.
This fall, we at Environment America, along with researchers from the Frontier Group, have been crunching the numbers and gathering stories from across the country to find out the impact of storms, floods, drought, wildfires, and other weather-related disasters on average Americans. The results - revealed in an online, interactive map -- are staggering.
Ninety-six percent of Americans live in counties hit by at least one weather-related disaster in the last five years. Since September 2010, weather-related disasters were declared in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C. And 40 million people live in counties recently affected by five or more disasters. Read More