Just how bad weather-related disasters have been this year



Flooding in eastern Montana has helped 2011 tie the record for most billion dollar weather disasters in the United States. And, experts point out, it's not even hurricane season yet.

The Missouri flooding hasn't officially been declared a billion dollar event yet, but it's a formality. Estimates of damage range from $1 billion to $4 billion; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) compared it to the Great Flood of 1993, which caused $25 billion in damages.

More encouraging news from the Capital Weather Gang, which has covered this record thoroughly:

Although river levels have recently receded some, the flood risk remains high NOAA cautioned.

“The sponge is fully saturated — there is nowhere for any additional water to go,” said Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “While unusual for this time of year, all signs point to the flood threat continuing through summer.”

In its June State of the Climate report, NOAA said heavy precipitation on top of deep snow produced record releases from Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana, by far the greatest flows on the Missouri River since the dam was closed off in 1937.

Seems like as good a time as any to redirect readers (again) to this column.

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