Environmental reporter Josephine Marcotty writes about our place in nature through her coverage of the outdoors, wildlife, pollution and sustainability.

The price of severe weather

Posted by: Josephine Marcotty Updated: March 19, 2012 - 10:39 AM

This whacky weather, as beautiful as it is, is a reminder that we live in interesting times, climate wise. Now, Environment Minnesota, a local advocacy group, has compiled a nifty interactive map that show how extreme the weather has been in Minnesota since 2006. They found that 4 out of 5 Minnesotans live in counties that have been affected by severe weather. In Minnesota that pretty much consists of severe storms and flooding.

You can read the full report here. Below is Environment Minnesota's summary of the major impacts of that severe weather. 

 

April, 2011.  The Nora Lutheran Church near Gardner, 20 miles north of Fargo, is surrounded by flooded fields. The flat valley looks like one big lake. Star Tribune photo.

 

•       Recently, severe droughts in the Arrowhead region led to the Pagami Creek fire, the largest forest fire in Minnesota in 93 years, which burned around 145 square miles inside and outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and led to severe thunderstorms downwind of the fire. This summer, the U.S. Forest Service expects to close 76 campsites on 23 lakes because of damage remaining from the Pagami Creek fire.
•       Since summer of 2011, central and southern Minnesota have seen extreme drought conditions, including the driest autumn ever recorded in history.  These droughts have led to a parched agricultural landscape in central and southern Minnesota.
•       In spring and early summer of 2011, major flooding caused devastation across the state.  With the spring snow melt, major flooding occurred along the Mississippi, Minnesota, St. Croix, and the Red Rivers.  This flooding followed a 1000-year flood event in September 2010 in southern Minnesota.  Intense rains on September 22 and 23 ended with over 4 inches falling in nearly all of southern Minnesota and over 6 inches falling in numerous communities.  This rain led to flash floods that caused basement flooding, road closures, and record-high river levels throughout southern Minnesota.
•       Since 2006, federally declared weather-related disasters have affected 75 counties in Minnesota housing 4,319,080 people – or nearly 4 out of 5 Minnesotans.
•       In 2011 alone, federally declared weather related disasters affected 45 counties housing 3,567,513 people in Minnesota.  Nationally, the number of disasters inflicting more than $1 billion in damage (at least 14) set an all-time record last year, with total damages from those disasters costing at least $55 billion.
 

 

 

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