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Weather and climate disasters off to a near-record setting pace for cost in 2021

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Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of Beyond The Forecast!

We are more than halfway through the year and I thought it would be a good time to check in on billion-dollar weather and climate disasters thus far in 2021. You may remember that 2020 was a record-setting year for such disasters, which we told you about in a January newsletter.

There have been eight weather and climate disasters in 2021 that have totaled at least $1 billion damage through July 9. This number already beats the 40-year average since these statistics started being kept in 1980 (7.1 events each year from 1980-2020).

The costliest of these disasters? The historic mid-February winter storm and extreme cold that mainly impacted Texas. It is the costliest winter storm on record in the U.S., nearly doubling the inflation-adjusted cost of Superstorm 1993 at $20.4 billion in damage.

The ongoing western drought and heatwave is expected to land second on the cost list, with severe storms and tornadoes in various locations around the country rounding out the top five.

If you adjust the January-June costs for inflation, we are at a near-record pace through six months: nearly $30 billion. This trails only 2011.

There have already been 331 deaths from these weather and climate disasters, which surpasses 2020′s total of 262 deaths.

Thanks to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information for all of this sobering data.

We have another six months of 2021 to go, which includes almost all of hurricane season, so check back in with us later in the year for the complete numbers.

Switching gears to your forecast, we have a very typical July weather pattern ahead of us with consistent heat and humidity and daily chances for storms. Meteorologist Chris Michaels has everything you need to know in our daily forecast article.

You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg area, 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.

You can also keep up with me on social media. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, follow along!

-- Justin McKee


About the Author:

Justin McKee presents the weather forecast on 10 News Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6 to 8 a.m. He also fills in for other meteorologists during the week.