Historically and geographicaly United States has some of the highest weather related destruction and casualties in the world. “Only In America” phrase would describe this natural phenomenon perfectly. Record keeping of natural disasters related to weather have only been around for about one hundred and forty years. However, it can be assured that such events occurred long before the United States was colonised by Europeans. However, there are some indications to the severity of the US in different regions kept in the writings of early churches and personal accounts of todays ancestors that describe savage tornadoes that tore through whole communities to flood-making rains.
Recently the research undertaken by the International Journal of Health Geographics stated that in the past thirty five years or so total casualties from high publicised tropical cyclones and twisters were only at around 5 percent. While casualties related to severe winter weather was at about 18 percent and heat, which includes drought topped the list at a whopping 20 percent of total weather related casualties, destruction and death. This is perhaps an indicator that the American public romances events such as tornadoes and cyclones, and pays less attention to other, just as deadly, events such winter blizzards or scorching summer conditions. Perhaps an indication that an equal amount of study needs to be undertaken with these events as well.
There has been a pattern detected for the most frequently appearing severe weather in the United States. In general, most destruction and deaths occur in the middle and mid-south regions of the country. This is no surprise, as there are mountainous formations there that cause powerful catabatic winds that mix with the warmer and moist climates of the south. The cooler and dry systems moving into the country both from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. This causes a lot of unstable atmospheric conditions, of which some are very rapid. States like Oklohoma that lies directly in the path of these instabilities has been continuously pummeled by tornadoes; while the lower Mississippi, Texas, Florida are ravaged by tropical cyclones (hurricanes).
While the lower west coast, that includes California and Nevada is prone to large sclae wild fires, that cause of lot death and other injuries. However most of the Norther parts of the country are relatively calm and their weather related deaths are much lower. This is due to the fact that the constant Arctic cooling that deccends from the North overpowers any instability and high pressure systems from the south and oceans.
Global warming is increasing the World’s average surface temperature of 15 degrees centigrade. With this, instances of tropical cyclones, tornadoes, wild fires, floods and more will become more prominent and powerful. With such a gloomy prediction, the population in the most weather effected zone of the United States needs to be better educated regarding natural disasters and be better prepared if indeed something catastrophic does happen again. Whether its redesigning infrastructure to be able to withstand more severe weather events, or have people relocated, one thing is definite. Providing understanding and being able to predict these natural events is a must, in order to preserve human life and the economy.