US suffered $7 bn weather disasters in 2013: Report

Washington, Jan 16: The US experienced seven weather and climate disaster events in 2013, each with losses exceeding $1 billion in damages, according to a government report released Wednesday.

“These events included five severe weather and tornado events, a major flood event, and the western drought/heat wave,” Xinhua quoted the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as saying in a report.

“Overall, these events killed 109 people and delivered significant economic effects.”

However, drought conditions improved substantially across much of the southeastern and central US during 2013, the NOAA said. At the end of 2013, about 31 percent of the contiguous US was experiencing drought, down from 61.1 percent at the beginning of the year.

There were also few tornado outbreaks in 2013 with the two most active days coming in late January and mid-November, it said. The total number of tornadoes for the year will be around 900, the lowest annual count since 1989. The annual average number of tornadoes in the US is approximately 1,250.

In addition, the 2013 North Atlantic hurricane season had 13 named storms, two hurricanes, and no major hurricanes, the NOAA said.

“The number of tropical storms was slightly above the 1981-2010 average of 12.1, the number of hurricanes was below the average of 6.4,” it said. “The last time only two hurricanes were observed was in 1982 and the last season with no major hurricanes was 1994.”

According to the NOAA, 2013 consisted of a warmer-than-average winter, summer, and autumn, and a cooler-than-average spring for the US.

It said that the average temperature for the contiguous US during 2013 was 11.3 degrees Celsius, about 0.1 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average, tying with 1980 as the 37th warmest year in the 119-year period of record.

The average rainfall totalled 79.17 cm, about 5.16 cm above the 20th century average. This marked the 21st wettest year on record and the wettest since 2009, the NOAA added.

IANS