Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Photographs: 2011 | A Disastrous Year In Weather

What a scary year 2011 has been for extreme weather. Nine U.S. disasters alone made it the costliest year for weather-related damage in history. And there's a lot more.

First, a post-Christmas blizzard covered the Northeast U.S. in 2+ feet of snow; and on February's Groundhog Day, "Snowpocalypse" shut down the Eastern U.S. In March, after a cyclone spun through Queensland, Australia; and a disastrous Japanese earthquake & tsunami left 20,000 dead and missing, the worst quake there in 100 years. Days later, an earthquake shook Ottawa, Canada.

In April, 10 Midwest & Southern U.S, states were smacked with a record 46 tornadoes, totaling $1.6 billion in damage. During the summer, tornadoes ravaged Joplin, Mo., and North Carolina; as a brutal heat wave steamed the East Coast & Southwest, prompting rampant wildfires through Texas; while rains three times the normal amount in the Ohio Valley flooded the Mississippi River and tributaries.

A damn earthquake trembled in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Aug. 23; and then Hurricane Irene brought hell of earth from Florida north to Canada. Either God is pissed off or this Global Warming thing actually holds water. Brace yourself: These photos are not necessarily pretty.
Above, a whirpool forms off the Japanese coast after the March 11 tsunami. On right, sightseeing boat Hama Yuri was yanked 1,300 feet from the coast and balanced itself on a two-story house.
Chile's Puyehue Volcano caused air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand, Australia and forced 3,000 to evacuate.
Cars are abandoned on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive during the February "Snowpocalypse."
A monstrous dust storm (Haboob) roared through Phoenix, Arizona in July. 
After Hurricane Irene, Billy Stinson comforts his daughter Erin on the steps where their cottage stood, in Nags Head, N.C. The cottage was built in 1903. More damage in the two shots below it.
A 190 mph tornado tracked through Tuscaloosa, Ala., April 27, traveling 80 miles through the state.
The Joplin, Mo., tornado decimated neighborhoods and hundreds of homes in a region seldom ravaged by such severe weather.
A wildfire burns out of control in Bastrop State Park, Texas, Sept. 5. It's not over yet: In Nome, Ala., on November 8, a huge Bering Sea storm pummeled the state's west coast with high winds and surging waves, forcing residents to seek higher ground inland.
And of course let's not forget the biggest U.S. weather story of the year: "Hurricane Irene is heading for New York City!" On Aug. 28, it was 24/7 bravado on every TV station. And man, was it a big event: As Mayor Bloomberg ordered residents to abandon their homes in Battery Park, the city was dealt a heavy hand... It rained some. And it was kind of windy. Wow!!