Top 5 Extreme Weather States

Explainer

Severe weather strikes these states the most

By Gwen Baumgardner, Mack Pittman

From Hurricanes Ida and Henri to record heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest and record lows in Texas, this year has been filled with deadly and dangerous weather. In fact, new research finds that nearly one in every three Americans experienced weather disasters this summer.

“One of the things we’re seeing…is the extremes are getting more extreme,” meteorologist Sven Sundgaard said.

When the next big weather event hits, where don’t you want to be? Sundgaard spotlights five American states with the most dangerous weather events.

Gwen Baumgardner: SUMMER 2021 SAW NO SHORTAGE OF NATURAL DISASTERS…

FROM HURRICANE IDA

AND OREGON’S BOOTLEG FIRE, 

TO THE DEADLY HEAT WAVE in the pacific northwest.

IN FACT,  NEW RESEARCH from the washington post SHOWS NEARLY 1 IN 3 AMERICANS EXPERIENCED WEATHER DISASTERS THIS SUMMER. 

THAT GOT US WONDERING: 

WHAT ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS STATES FOR SEVERE WEATHER.

IN OTHER WORDS – WHEN THE BIG ONE HITS – WHERE DON’T YOU WANT TO BE?

WE ENLISTED THE HELP OF METEOROLOGIST SVEN SUNDGAARD for the top five most dangerous states when it comes to severe weather. 

FOR THE PAST 18 YEARS, he’s COVERED MORE THAN HIS FAIR SHARE OF catastrophic events. 

LET’S START IN THE GULF COAST WITH LOUISIANA.

Sven Sundgaard: “In Louisiana, they can get flooding in the winter and the summer and the spring and some years. It goes all year long. And in particular years, like this year where they’re one to two feet above normal for rainfall in some spots, you get a tropical storm. Or a major hurricane that dumps one to two feet of rain, there’s nowhere for it to go. So you already have a flat place that is prone to flooding, because of just its geography and geology. But now you have a particularly wet year, and in the peak of hurricane season, it can really be a major disaster.       

Baumgardner: FURTHER DOWN THE COAST…FLORIDA STICKS OUT, LIKE A ‘DARTBOARD FOR HURRICANES’…SVEN’S WORDS, NOT MINE.   

Sundgaard: “A lot of coastal Florida has its major cities, and any one of those is prone to a hurricane. And similar things sea level rise, which makes those storm surges worse, and then flooding issues because of rain. You know, Florida is a wet place. The reason it’s green and you got palm trees is because it gets a lot of rain and sunshine and they get thunderstorms every day of the year in Florida, whereas most of us have a season so Florida actually beats out some places as far as the number of tornadoes because they just have more potential thunderstorm days.”

Baumgardner: EVER HEARD THAT EVERYTHING’S BIGGER IN TEXAS? THAT APPLIES TO WEATHER DAMAGE TOO.

Sundgaard: “Texas is just opening itself to when you’re making a list like this to being in it just because it gets all the extremes. So you get those tropical systems… coastal sea level rise, storm surges, more powerful hurricanes. And the thing about Harvey wasn’t the wind, it was the flooding rains and nowhere for that water to go. But also, Texas gets winter weather sometimes. We saw February this year, that extreme cold outbreak that hit Texas and it’s just not set up for all these extremes, the whole infrastructure, the power grid, the resources to help people.”

Baumgardner: YEAR-ROUND EXTREMES EXTEND TO THEIR NORTHERN NEIGHBORS. TORNADO ALLEY, ANYONE?

Sundgaard: “Oklahoma is one of the tornado capitals of really the world. And we hear about suburbs of Oklahoma that get really leveled by some of these major tornadic cells. And so the combination of a major urban area that’s really in prime pathways of where tornadoes develop, makes it a particularly risky state. But then also, it gets a lot of extreme weather, similar to Kansas, hot, dry summers, crazy cold winters, they can get blizzards in Oklahoma City, but even more extreme. Oklahoma has earthquake activity, too, that people don’t realize… partly fracking. But there is also some faults that go through there.”

Baumgardner: AND SPEAKING OF EARTHQUAKES, HERE’S THE SHAKEDOWN ON WHY CALIFORNIA IS SO DANGEROUS.

Sundgaard: “ Earthquakes, you know, God forbid, you want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. California, obviously we think earthquakes right away. And then also means tsunamis. If there’s anything that happens to the Pacific, they frequently get tsunami warnings. But the big thing with California is that fire season. The fire season is worse. The drought is worse. So you know, just daily life will only get worse in the future because water is being stretched. You know, you have Los Angeles and San Diego, lovely places, but millions of people should not be living in a place like that because there’s just not enough water resources.’’

Baumgardner: SVEN WARNS THE dangerous WEATHER IN THESE STATES ARE ONLY EXPECTED TO BECOME MORE EXTREME AS THE YEARS GO ON.  

WHAT OTHER places SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE LIST OF DANGEROUS STATES?

LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

 

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From Hurricanes Ida and Henri to record heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest and record lows in Texas, this year has been filled with deadly and dangerous weather. In fact, new research finds that nearly one in every three Americans experienced weather disasters this summer.

“One of the things we’re seeing…is the extremes are getting more extreme,” meteorologist Sven Sundgaard said.

When the next big weather event hits, where don’t you want to be? Sundgaard spotlights five American states with the most dangerous weather events.

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