Wow. 2013. Quite the year, as far as natural disasters are concerned. Storms. Floods. Earthquakes. Wild fires. Even a destructive meteor. Here's a look back at the more memorable natural events of a very active year.
*May Tornadoes. As we all know too well, last May the city of Moore was slammed by a devastating F5 tornado. The storm destroyed thousands of homes, buildings. . .and schools. Twenty-four people lost their lives, and almost 400 others were injured. The storm caused some $2 billion in damages--losses all Oklahomans will feel when their homeowners policies renew. And only a few days later, the OKC metro was the recipient of another outbreak of tornadoes; with an F5 south of El Reno leaving a storm path over two miles wide. . .the largest on record.
*Typhoon Haiyan--Philippines. Only last month, the Philippines were struck by a massive typhoon that killed 6,000 people, with another 1,800 persons missing or unaccounted for. Haiyan is the deadliest typhoon on Philippine record, and is the strongest storm ever recorded on landfall. Weeks later, the country is still recovering and clearing debris.
*Balochistan Earthquake--Pakistan. In September the southwestern Pakistani region of Balochistan was struck by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that killed over 800 people and injured hundreds more. According to the National Disaster Management Authority, some 30,000 families have been homeless since the disaster.
*Floods--India. In June, a multi-day cloudburst hit the northern portions of India, causing landslides and floods resulting in over 5,700 people missing. These people are presumed dead. Soldiers and volunteers rescued another 100,000 people who were stranded in remote areas cut off by washed-out roads and landslides. It was India's worst disaster since the tsunami of 2004. India wasn't the only country decimated by flooding; also in June, central Mexico was slammed by two tropical storms within a 24-hour period, causing severe flooding resulting in massive destruction.
*Meteor--Russia. In February a large meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere over Russia at a speed of almost 60 times the speed of sound. The light from the meteor was brighter than the sun, and eyewitnesses report they felt intense heat from the object. When the meteor exploded over the region of Chelyabinsk Oblast, the shock wave damaged 7,200 buildings in six cities. The event caused widespread panic among the locals, resulting in some 1,500 injuries. (Most were damaged indirectly by exploding glass from shattering windows.) Sub-zero Russian temperatures made ensuing repairs very difficult.
*February Snowstorm--Central Plains. Finally, who can forget the record snowfall occurring in this region back in February? Over two feet of snow fell in western Kansas, northwest Oklahoma, and the Texas Panhandle, paralyzing the area for days and days. People with snowblading equipment worked around the clock to clear streets and parking lots. It was quite an event! Here's hoping 2014 is less than this exciting when it comes to natural disasters. Happy New Year!