Summer ends Wednesday after a rash of extremes
Washington — This summer’s weather was relentless and hellish, crowded with the type of record-smashing extremes that scientists have long warned about.
The season ends Wednesday, and not a moment too soon. Summer featured floods that killed hundreds of people and caused more than $50 billion in losses around the globe, from Louisiana and West Virginia to China, India, Europe and the Sudan. Meanwhile, droughts parched croplands and wildfires burned from California to Canada to China and India. Toss in unrelenting record heat.
From June to August, there were at least 10 different weather disasters that each caused more than $1 billion in losses, according to insurance industry tallies. With summer weather now seemingly stretching from May to September, extreme weather in that span killed well more than 2,000 people. And that’s without a major hurricane hitting a big U.S. city, although the Pacific had its share of deadly and costly storms, among them Typhoon Nepartak, which killed 111 people in Asia.
“It is representing I think a notch up for the impacts we have had to deal with,” U.S. National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini said. “We’ve experienced an increasing number and a disturbing number of weather extremes this summer.”
The U.S. as a nation set a record for the hottest nighttime temperatures on average this summer, Arndt said. Tallahassee, Florida, for example, went 74 consecutive days where the nighttime temperature didn’t dip below 72.
Twelve U.S. cities had their warmest summers ever, including Las Vegas, New Orleans, Cleveland and Detroit. The globe had its hottest month on record (July) and hottest summer on record. August was the 16th consecutive month Earth set a monthly heat record, according to NOAA.
Here are some of this summer’s extreme weather:
■ Flooding in China’s Yangtze Basin from May through August killed at least 475 people and caused $28 billion in losses.
■A drought in India that started earlier in the year and stretched through June caused about $5 billion in damage.
■Flooding in West Virginia and the mid-Atlantic in June killed 23 people and damaged more than 5,500 buildings.
■Flooding in Louisiana in August killed 13 people and caused around $15 billion in damage.
■Localities in the United States broke nearly 15,000 daily records for hot nighttime minimum temperatures from May into September.