The top 5 worst natural disasters in the last 100 years all were extreme weather events in the United States, as follows (source – The Weather Channel):
1. 1930-34 Dust Bowl (brought by severe drought in the Midwest)
2. 1927 Great Flood of Mississippi River (more destructive than the 2011 Great flood)
3. 2005 Hurricane Katrina (at 81 billion dollars, the most costly disaster hitting the Gulf coast)
4. 2011 Tornado Outbreak of April (most human loss in the recorded history of tornados)
5. 1993 Super Storm
The top 5 worst natural disasters of 2011 so far include: extreme winter weather blizzard, tornado outbreak, the great Mississippi River flood, and drought (wild fire with 78% Texas in extreme drought).
Can these extreme weather events be simply blamed on global warming or these are cyclic events over periods of 50-100 years? No matter what are the causes, we must prepare to respond to these events and other non-weather disasters on more frequent basis. This will require all of us to realize community preparedness at all levels of government and non-government emergency management efforts.
More information on current severe weather available at NOAA Weather Blog.