2018 Disaster Stats

2018 natural disasters statistics: volcanic activity resulted in more deaths than previous 18 years combined

Image credit: CRED

There were 281 climate-related and geophysical events recorded in the EM-DAT (International Disaster Database) in 2018. These caused deaths of 10 733 people and affected 61 million people across the world. There were a number of major disasters in certain regions, however, there were no mega-disasters which inflate yearly averages, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) who manages EM-DAT said. Earthquakes and tsunamis accounted for the majority of the 10 373 lives lost.

Notable features of the year were intense seismic activity in Indonesia, a string of disasters in Japan, floods in India, and a very eventful year in volcanic activity (which resulted in more deaths than have occurred in the previous 18 years combined) and wildfires. These events continued to occupy headlines, CRED said.

An ongoing trend of lower death tolls from previous years continued into 2018, potentially demonstrating the efficacy of improved standards of living and disaster management. However, it is critical to avoid complacency towards major gaps in data collection and reporting and resilience, particularly for climate-related disasters, which are forecasted to increase in both frequency and intensity.

Globally, Indonesia recorded nearly half the total deaths from disasters in 2018, while India recorded nearly half the total number of individuals affected. The following data are events recorded in EM-DAT.  As estimations become more accurate over time, figures will be adjusted, particularly for economic losses.

The original file posted by CRED can be found at the following link.

Earthquakes and tsunamis (20 events) 

Earthquakes and tsunamis have been the deadliest disaster in the 21st century and this trend continued in 2018. The concentration of the damage was in South-East Asia and Melanesia, specifically in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea respectively.

In the early months of the year, a string of earthquakes in Papua New Guinea left 181 dead, and affected over half a million people, many of whom lived in remote highlands which were difficult to reach by aid and rescue operations.

In Indonesia, the island of Lombok suffered multiple earthquakes, the deadliest being on August 5th, which killed 564 people. On September 28th, an earthquake triggered mudflows and a tsunami on the island of Sulawesi killing 3 400 people, making it the deadliest disaster of 2018.

Storms (84 events)

Every year, storms impact millions of people, and create billions of dollars (USD) in damage; 2018 was the same.

Two major storms struck the United States, while in Asia, China, India, Japan, and the Philippines faced extensive damage from multiple storms.

It is anticipated that storms, particularly due to hurricanes Florence (14 billion USD) and Michael (16 billion USD) and typhoon Jebi (12.5 billion USD), will be the costliest type of disaster of 2018.

EM-DAT is awaiting final data on the economic damage from these events.

Floods (108 events)

Overall, floods have affected more people than any other type of natural hazard in the 21st century, including 2018. Overall, there was a respite from floods in 2018, with Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam, which often face relentless floods reporting fewer events this year. However, major floods were reported in other countries.

In Somalia, which is already suffering from an ongoing conflict, over 700 000 people were affected by flooding, while in Nigeria, flooding cost 300 lives and impacted nearly four million people.

In Japan, heavy rains triggered the deadliest floods since 1982, killing 230 people.

The August flooding of India’s Kerala state was by far the largest flood event of the year, with 504 dead, and two-thirds of the state’s residents affected (over 23 million people).

Currently, CRED is undertaking an epidemiological study in this region to investigate the impacts of the flooding on gender and disease.

Volcanic activity (7 events)

Volcanic activity rarely makes headlines, and has had minimal impacts since the turn of the century; however, in 2018 this natural hazard resulted in more deaths than have occurred in the previous 18 years combined.

In June, the Volcán de Fuego Eruption in Guatemala killed over 400 people and affected over 1.7 million, while late in December, the eruption of Anak Krakatau in Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed over 400 people on the islands of Sumatra and Java.

Droughts and extreme temperatures (39 events)

The direct impact of climate change on human populations will increasingly be felt through catastrophic phenomena, such as drought and extreme temperatures. The human repercussions of these events, as experienced by the EM-DAT team, are typically poorly reported, especially from low-income countries.

This is partly due to methodological difficulties in registering deaths and the severe consequences caused by droughts and extreme temperatures.

In 2018, three million people were affected by an ongoing drought in Kenya, while Afghanistan suffered a major drought that impacted 2.2 million people, causing the internal displacement of thousands.

In Central America droughts affected over 2.5 million people in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, which coincided with international migration patterns. Across Europe, a hot and dry summer caused heatwaves and drought conditions that affected farmers and health systems in numerous countries.

Due to the privileged economic situation of many European countries, there are reduced impacts from persistent heat exposure and water shortages on the population.

With the growing impact of climate change, particularly in lower and lower-middle income countries, it is critical to improve the reporting on the human impact of droughts and extreme temperatures.

Wildfires (9 events)

Across the world, the trend of devastating wildfires continued from 2017 into 2018. In 2018, the Attica Fires in Greece, killed an estimated 126 people, making it the deadliest wildfire recorded in Europe within EM-DAT records, both this current and previous century.

In the United States, the California wildfire season was the deadliest and costliest on record, with Camp Fire killing 88 people, the highest wildfire death toll in the country since the 1920s, and causing an estimated 16.5 billion USD in damage, the costliest wildfire event on record.

For the statistics, go to the source:    https://watchers.news/2019/01/25/2018-natural-disasters-statistics-cred/

August 2012 Weather Extremes

August 2012 Global Weather Extremes Summary

Published: 5:52 AM GMT on September 04, 2012

August 2012 Global Weather Extremes Summary

There is never a dull month when it comes to extreme weather and August 2012 was no exception. The month began with a massive flood in Manila, Philippines and an intense heat wave in the south-central U.S. Two very sharp heat waves affected much of Europe during the 2nd and 3rd weeks of the month smashing records from Spain to Poland and the Ukraine. Typhoons walloped coastal sections of China and Hurricane Isaac thrashed the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Below is a summary some of the month’s highlights.

NORTH AMERICA

An intense heat wave in the southern plains exacerbated the on-going drought conditions and the temperature at Oklahoma City reached 113°F (45°C), the warmest temperature ever measured in the city. By mid-August, however, a very cool air mass invaded most of the central portion of the country and temperatures even fell to freezing at a few locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In spite, of the mid-month cool down some sites have ended up enduring their hottest summer on record. Denver, Colorado has averaged 76.3° for its climatological summer (June-August) beating its former warmest summer of 1954 by a full 2°F (old record was 74.3°F). The warmest temperature in the world during August was 126°F (52.2°C) measured at Death Valley, California on August 9th.

Sub-tropical moisture brought intense rainfall to portions of the desert southwest on August 22nd. Las Vegas, Nevada recorded its 2nd wettest calendar day on record with 1.68” that caused flash flooding resulting in one drowning death in the city. (Mesquite, near Las Vegas, picked up 2.04”, its greatest 24-hour rainfall on record/since 1992). Some other desert locations measured over 4” of rain in just a few hours (4.03” at Mid Hills RAWS in San Bernardino County, California—about what this site might expect in an entire year). One site in Nevada’s Mohave County, Wikieup, received 1.42” of rain in just 30 minutes. Ironically, Seattle, Washington (normally perceived as wetter than Las Vegas!) received no measureable precipitation during the entire month of August, and of this writing, is approaching its record of 51 rain-free days set in 1951 (last rainfall this summer was on July 22nd).

Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana on August 27 as a CAT 1 storm although its large size, strong storm surge (as high as 13’,) and central pressure (as low as 966mb) was more indicative of a strong CAT 2 cyclone. Seven storm-related deaths were reported mostly associated with the 15-20” rainfalls that fell along the path of the slow moving storm. The damage (at least US$2 billion) caused by Isaac is still under review as of this writing.

Flooding reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina ravaged some New Orleans-area neighborhoods like Plaquemines Parish southeast of the city. Ironically, Isaac struck virtually on the 7th anniversary of Katrina. Photo by Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times).

Hurricane Ernesto struck the western coast of Mexico on August 9th resulting in the deaths of two.

The Arctic measured its lowest sea ice extent since observations began in 1975. By August 26th the ice extent had shrunk to 1.58 million square miles, about 277,000 square miles less than the previous record low set in September 2007.

The coldest temperature measured in the northern hemisphere during August was -36.1°C (-33.0°F) at Summit AWS, Greenland on August 30th.

SOUTH AMERICA and CENTRAL AMERICA

Tartagal, Argentina recorded a temperature of 38.8°C (101.8°F) on August 22nd a record for the month at that location.

EUROPE

Europe experienced its most intense heat wave since the famous heat wave of 2003 and, in fact, many locations measured even higher temperatures than that occasion. All-time national heat records were set in the Czech Republic (40.4°C/104.7°F at Dobrichovice on August 20th), Moldova (42.4°C/108.3°F at Falesti on August 7th), and Montenegro (44.8°C/112.6°F at Danilovgrad on August 8th). In the Pyrenees along the French and Spanish border virtually every site recorded its warmest temperature on record. For more details on the European heat waves of August see my previous blog on the subject. Wild fires have raged out of control in both Spain and Greece with several fatalities reported from the Spanish resort area around Marbella.

August weather extremes for the United Kingdom are not yet available.

An intense wild fire threatens a beach resort on the island of Chios in the Greek archipelago on August 18th. Photo from EPA archives.

AFRICA

Monsoonal rains resulted in deadly floods in Nigeria and Cameroon during the month. At least 14 flood-related deaths were reported in Cameroon’s north region and at least 15 in Nigeria’s central provinces.

On August 25th and 26th the temperature peaked at 42.5°C (108.5°F) at Mtunzini, South Africa. This was not only a winter record for South Africa but also close to the warmest temperature ever measured in the southern hemisphere during the winter months (44°C has been recorded at Villamontes, Bolivia during previous Augusts). Needless to say, this was the warmest temperature measured in the southern hemisphere during this past August.

ASIA

Although this years summer monsoons have failed to materialize in much of South Asia, heavy rains in the mountains of northern Pakistan on August 20-23 resulted in flash floods that drowned at least 26.

It was a very active month typhoon-wise in the Western Pacific. Notable typhoons struck Macao and Hong Kong including Typhoon Kai-tak that caused winds to gust to 87 mph at Hong Kong’s International Airport on August 23 and 27 lives were lost in China’s Guangdong and Guangxi Provinces. It was the strongest typhoon to hit Hong Kong since 1999. Typhoon Bolaven was the strongest typhoon to hit the Korean Peninsula since 2002 when it roared ashore on August 28th. At least 18 deaths (mostly fisherman) were reported as a result of the storm with at least a further 48 fatalities reported just recently from North Korea.

The biggest weather story of the month in Asia, however, was the tremendous flood that engulfed Manila in the Philippines between July 31-August 8th. Up to 1000 mm (40”) of rain was reported to have fallen in Quezon City during the week of rains and there were some 60 fatalities reported. For details about the flood see Angela Fritz’s August blog on the subject.

Manila’s streets turned into lakes during the phenomenal flood that affected the city the first week of August. Photo by Jof Cubol.

AUSTRALIA

Australia had a warmer and drier August than normal, reversing (temperature-wise) the cold weather endured over much of the country the previous July. It was Western Australia’s driest August since 1995 and 2nd warmest August on record.

A very warm month virtually nation-wide for Australia this past August (top map). Precipitation was also below normal in most of the country, especially in portions of Western Australia where it was the driest August on record (bottom map). Maps courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The warmest temperature recorded in Australia during this past August was 38.5°C (101.3°F) at Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia on August 27th and the coldest -4.9°C (23.2°F) at Thredbo Top Station, New South Wales on August 6th. The greatest calendar day precipitation was 73.0mm (2.87”) at Mount Sabine, Victoria on August 18th.

NEW ZEALAND/SOUTH PACIFIC

It was generally a mild and wet August in New Zealand although there was a sharp contrast in precipitation totals on the South Island where anomalies ran the gamut from 10% to 400% of normal!

The extreme anomaly between very dry and very wet weather that affected the South Island in August can be seen in this map above. Map courtesy of NIWA.

The highest temperature recorded was 22.7°C (72.9°F) at Christchurch, South Island on August 26th and the lowest -5.3°C (22.5°F) at Ranfurly on August 23rd. The greatest calendar day rainfall was 198 mm (7.80”) at Akaroa on August 25th.

ANTARCTICA

The coldest temperature in the southern hemisphere and the world during August was -80.0°C (-112.0°F) recorded at Vostok on August 7th.

KUDOS Thanks to Maximiliano Herrera for global temperature extremes data, Stephen Burt for the U.K. extremes, and Jeremy Budd and NIWA for New Zealand weather extremes.

from:    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/article.html

Governor Perry VS Firefighters

As a former Emergency Medical Technician, I can attest to the necessity of proper and state of the art equipment in responding to emergencies on all levels and in all situations. You cannot respond to a critical situation with only the hope that your supplies will be there. You can only respond confidently KNOWING that you have adequate, up to date, and effective materials. Emergency Services deal with matters of life and death, sometimes their own. If one does a bit of soul searching, I am sure that you would agree that your life is worth the price of a non-rebreather, oxygen, fuel, even a fire hose. Any responsible politician would have to agree.

In Rick Perry’s Texas, Firefighters Forced To Pay For Gear, Engine Fuel

Rick Perry

Under Gov. Rick Perry, Texas has slashed firefighting budgets.

Posted: 9/9/11 07:56 PM ET

WASHINGTON — In Texas, firefighters aren’t just battling the wild fires raging around Austin and Houston. The state’s first responders have also had to deal with budget cuts affecting everything from fuel purchases to hoses and oxygen tanks.

In some cases, fire officials say, firefighters have had to pay out of pocket for basic necessities like proper protective gear and fuel to get them to the scene. One fire department that battled the blazes in Bastrop County had to pay for a hose, recalled Bastrop City Fire Chief Henry Perry, speaking to The Huffington Post during a break from working the wild fires.

“That fire department has been on this fire every day,” he said. “Before this fire, they were having to buy stuff out of their own pocket.” Perry said he knows of at least one other department whose firemen had to pay for equipment maintenance and engine fuel.

Earlier this week, HuffPost reported that Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP front-runner for president, had signed off on millions in firefighting cuts as part of the state’s most recent budget legislation. The Texas Forest Service’s funding has gone from $117.7 million in the 2010-2011 budget years to $83 million in the 2012-2013 budget years.

Severe cuts have also hit assistance grants to volunteer fire departments throughout Texas. The grants decreased from $30 million per year in 2010 and 2011 to $13.5 million per year in 2012 and 2013. These are cuts that firemen are now dealing with.

“I don’t agree with it. I understand what Governor Perry did,” said Henry Perry (no relation). “Do I like it? No. I don’t like it at all.”

The cuts come at a time when Texas fire departments have already been slowing purchases of new fire trucks and other critical equipment as a way to save money, said Guy Turner, president of the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters. The association had endorsed Perry in his re-election for governor in 2010.
“What I fear will happen is equipment will start to fail and put our members at peril,” Turner explained. “You can imagine if you’re inside a structure fire and your engine quits.”

Turner doesn’t have to imagine it. He said he knows of firefighters whose breathing apparatus has malfunctioned during fires. There have also been “instances of hoses failing during the course of firefighting operations.”

“For years, public safety was the golden calf — that we were untouchable,” Turner said. “Nobody’s untouchable. It is a shame. They are basically putting a price on how much our lives are worth. It’s disturbing at best.”

for the rest of the story, go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/09/rick-perry-fire-department-cuts-texas-wild-fires_n_956307.html

Texas Wildfires

Central Texas wildfire destroys nearly 800 homes

APBy JIM VERTUNO – Associated Press | AP 

BASTROP, Texas (AP) — Firefighting crews started Wednesday to gain control of a wind-stoked blaze that has raged unchecked across parched Central Texas for days, leaving hundreds of charred properties in its wake and causing thousands of people to flee.

As the crisis unfolded, Gov. Rick Perry flew off to a Republican presidential debate in California as authorities commanded operations fighting the disaster.

At least two people have died in the wildfire, which destroyed nearly 800 homes and blackened about 45 square miles (116 square kilometers) in and around the city of Bastrop, outside Austin, the state capital.

The Texas Forest Service said Wednesday that blaze had consumed 785 homes, making it the most catastrophic of the fires that have erupted in the past week across Texas. One of the most devastating wildfire outbreaks in state history has caused four deaths and pulled the state’s firefighting ranks to the limit.

But Bastrop County Judge Ronnie McDonald also sounded an optimistic tone, saying firefighters had a “good night” and that no new structures were lost overnight in the battle to contain the 33,000-acre (13,350-hectare) blaze about 25 miles east of Austin. Containment remained at 30 percent.

The forest service said it responded to a total of 19 new fires Wednesday totaling 1,490 acres (600 hectares) across the state, bringing the count over the past week to more than 170 fires consuming more than 130,000 acres (52,600 hectares).

Texas Task Force 1, an elite search team that was sent to New York following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, will be assisting in Bastrop.

The team has dogs that can help look for people trapped in debris, Chief Bob McKee told The Associated Press. “We also have human remains canines that would scent on deceased persons or animals,” McKee said.

Crews finally got a reprieve Tuesday from winds pushed in by Tropical Storm Lee that whipped the blaze into an inferno over the weekend. Texas Forest Service spokeswoman April Saginor said the lighter winds were assisting firefighters in their efforts.

“Even though the fuels are critically dry, the grass is dry and the relative humidity is still pretty low, they were able to take advantage of lower winds,” Saginor said.

Perry cut short a presidential campaign trip to South Carolina to deal with the crisis, and on Tuesday toured a blackened area near Bastrop.

to read more, go to:http://news.yahoo.com/central-texas-wildfire-destroys-nearly-800-homes-161533970.html