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3 Recent Extreme Weather Events in the United States

3 Recent Extreme Weather Events in the United States

Extreme weather is something that has increasingly become a hot topic here in the US and around the world with a growing frequency of weather events taking place. We have compiled a small list of three of the most extreme weather events here in recent times.

1. California Wildfire Destruction (2017-2019)

The California wildfires have caused billions of dollars of damage, destroyed over 8,000 homes, and killed at least 88 people. The fires have been called "unprecedented" in nature due to their immense size and devastation.

Wildfire in Cali

In Northern California, where wildfire is a natural part of the ecosystem, utility companies and residents alike face a new and challenging reality. With temperatures rising and winds intensifying, wildfires that were once manageable have begun to grow out of control. The California wildfires in 2018 moved at record speeds, delivering hellish destruction to everything in their paths. Before PG&E made the difficult decision to turn off power to areas it deemed too risky for its equipment, several fires destroyed entire neighborhoods and left thousands without homes.

2. Hurricane Katrina Flooding (2004)

The Camp Fire, first reported at 6:33 PM on the evening of November 8, 2018, quickly became the largest and deadliest wildfire in California history. Starting as a vegetation fire, it grew into a conflagration that rapidly spread through the Sierra Nevada foothills and across the entire width of Butte County. The highest wind speeds measured were 158 miles per hour (253 km/h) at ground level, with some winds estimated to have exceeded 200 miles per hour (320 km/h). At the height of its intensity, this disaster had all the appearances and effects of a tornado touched down to earth near the town.

Wildfire in California
Wildfire in Cali again

We're beyond saddened by the destruction from these California wildfires. Unified in prayer, California mourns with those in Northern California who are dealing with devastating wildfires. Let's take hope from this disaster. California is strong and can be even stronger after it's gone through these disasters.

The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most catastrophic hurricane seasons since record-keeping began, featuring a record number of storms and some of the most intense hurricanes ever to strike the United States. Hurricane Katrina formed early in the season and caused a severe impact on the Gulf Coast of the United States, while Hurricanes Rita and Wilma impacted Mexico, causing nearly catastrophic damage. A record four hurricanes struck Florida within a month, while Hurricane Dennis brushed Georgia and South Carolina. The last storm of the year was Tropical Storm Zeta, which dissipated in early November. 

The flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina's strike on August 29, 2005, was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. The massive storm hit with Category 3 force and overwhelmed New Orleans' levee system. As a result, 80% of the city was flooded with water 15 feet deep in some places. Residents were told to evacuate, but thousands stayed behind in a major tragedy that made headlines around the world.

New Orleans, Louisiana is situated below sea level, so it is no surprise that the city floods. The people living in areas most at risk for flooding have historically been the city’s poorer residents. New Orleans relies on a system of levees built by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the city from flooding. When Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005, it caused many of these levees to fail. As a result, over 80% of the city flooded. It was the costliest hurricane in United States history.

Advanced mathematics, sophisticated weather forecasting, better building construction, flood warning systems, better warning of evacuation orders -- these are some of the reasons put forward for this extreme level of flood damage. But many engineers believe the fundamental flaw was the poor design of flood walls.


3. Los Angeles County Flood of 2005

The Los Angeles County Flood of 2005 was a natural disaster that occurred in late February and early March 2005. Excessive rain caused the Santa Clara River and Coyote Creek to overflow and flood nearby areas, first in Simi Valley and then downstream along the entire course of both rivers. The resulting floods severely damaged 15,000 houses and destroyed 500 houses.

LA flooding

The Los Angeles County Flood of 2005 was responsible for billions of dollars of damage, with one source estimating the total cost at $1.433 billion. The most serious damage occurred in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles' Westside, where houses were swept away by mudflows, with gas mains exploding; there, 10 people died.

Also referred to as the Great Flood of 2000 was caused by heavy rainfall within the San Gabriel Mountains catchment area. The actual flood zone affected by the flood is part of the urban area of Los Angeles, California, extending from Santa Monica on the west to Pasadena on the north.

Los Angeles flood 2005

The flood zone is the area affected by the flood in Los Angeles County in February and March 2005. It was located along and just north of the Los Angeles River in the county and the foothills and mountains to three sides. The zone stretched from Santa Monica on the west, through Hollywood to Glendale and Pasadena on the north, through the San Fernando Valley on the northwest, to Burbank and La Canada-Flintridge on the east, to Santa Barbara and Montecito to the south. It extended from Valencia south to Long Beach and stretched from Temescal Canyon in the west through Cahuenga Pass.

LA Flooding 2005

Communities along these rivers were swamped with torrential rain that quickly overwhelmed storm drains and river channels. The wall of water that followed displaced tens of thousands of people and buried many homes under mud and debris. No one had been prepared for such a powerful storm.

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