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Beyond The Forecast: 2020 was a record year for weather disasters in the US

22 different weather events caused at least $1 billion in damage

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Happy Monday! We’re ten days into the new year and I know everyone is hoping to close the book on 2020 for good. I do want to take one more look back at the wild weather the United States dealt with last year. In fact, it was a record-breaking year for “billion-dollar disasters.”

NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information released a report Friday, detailing all of the costly and deadly disasters the country experienced in 2020. 22 different weather events caused at least $1 billion in damage, a new record. The disasters caused a total of $95 billion in damages and killed 262 people.

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The most destructive storm in 2020? Hurricane Laura, which devastated coastal Louisiana and Texas in August.

Western wildfires in the fall and August’s derecho in the Midwest also caused at least $10 billion in damages.

Tropical systems, tornadoes, severe storms and drought also caused big impacts across the country.

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According to Climate Central, the troubling trend of more numerous, costlier and deadlier disasters will continue, thanks to our warming climate.

The number of billion-dollar disasters in 2020 nearly quadrupled the 30-year average.

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Switching gears to the forecast, it appears our cold and gloomy conditions will be a one-day thing, as mild sunshine returns tomorrow and hangs with us through Thursday. Temperatures could fall again this weekend behind a front. Get the details on what we’re tracking from Meteorologist Chris Michaels in our daily forecast article.

You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg, the New River Valley or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!

In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on WSLS.com. Here are a few links from the past week to check out:

If you prefer your weather information delivered by social media, you can follow Your Local Weather Authority on Facebook and Twitter.

-- Justin McKee


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