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Top 5 U.S. Extreme Weather Events Of 2011 (Slideshow)

Top 5 U.S. Extreme Weather Events Of 2011 (Slideshow)
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2011 brought many natural disasters across the world. Australia was hit with record flooding, followed by one of its worst tropical cyclones ever. Floodwaters also ravaged parts of Thailand and China, while the Horn of Africa suffered its worst drought in decades.

But the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan on March 11 was the worst natural disaster of 2011. It only lasted five minutes, but the aftermath and impact of the event will affect Japan for years to come. It was one of the five strongest quakes ever recorded on earth, and also created a large tsunami that became responsible for most of the extreme damage. Over 15,000 people died from the combination of the earthquake and tsunami.

The United States also endured several extreme weather events in 2011. Here are just 5 of them:

1.  In late January, paralyzing blizzards dumped heavy snow on 22 states. Chicago was buried under nearly two feet of snow, and the Windy City ground to a near standstill.  The Chicago Snowstorm of 2011 with 20.5 inches made it the 3rd largest snowfall in the recorded history of Chicago weather.

Photo Credit:HeyAhsan

Top Photo Credit: airwaves1

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75 comments

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3:11PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

Interesting. Thanks for the article. Those of us who weren't nearly
as affected as others should be reminded of how lucky we are.

9:41AM PST on Mar 4, 2012

Thanks Judy. Now 2012 as already brought severe destruction from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. Canada's cold air meeting up with the Gulf's warm air, seems incomprehensible that the air masses can cause these terrible tornado's.

10:50AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

With the possible exception of the Japanese earthquake, how
can we deny the existence of global warming?
These extreme weather changes are part of a bigger picture.

7:43AM PST on Jan 6, 2012

Unstable weather is having a far greater impact on the Earth nowadays compared to when I grew up in the 1950-60s , it really is getting stranger and wilder ....Thankyou....

7:52PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

Great article!

3:34PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

@ Addison B. One of the problems with the Oct storm was what had happened previously. Most of the trees still had green leaves. This in itself was a major factor. Normally at this time, late October, the trees either have lost their leaves or have lost a part of them. This enabled the snow to remain on the trees in in much more massive quantities causing branches to fail and fall on the power lines.

3:05PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

I agree with Jenna C. from the Berkshires. The strange weather events that hit the East Coast, and Western Massachusetts in particular, are blatant examples of "climate change." On June 1, a tornado ripped through that part of the state leaving massive destruction in its path. It was a blessing that not more than four people were killed, but the damage done has forever changed the face of the landscape. Soon came "Hurricane Irene" further weakening the huge trees on the East Coast. Finally, the October snowstorm, as Jenna C. pointed out, finished the job. The utility companies cited this as "the worst storm in history" because so many trees and power lines were downed. It took weeks to restore power, and as Jenna said, many people's lives are still being impacted by the devastation of that storm. Utility workers came from all over the US and Canada to lend a hand to the power companies on the East Coast. The heavy snow toppled so many trees.

I grew up in Western Massachusetts and never in my life have I've seen such strange weather. My friend who also lived in Western Massachusetts for 86 years has never witnessed such violent weather. Ironically, I moved to Miami Beach, FL just the day before all the strange weather hit Massachusetts and Connecticut. Florida is hurricane country, so when I first moved here, I called my sister in Western MA to pray that Hurricane Irene didn't hit Florida. Although I was as prepared as I could be for a hurricane, I was scared. Next thi

8:50AM PST on Jan 5, 2012

How could they not include the October 30 snowstorm which knocked out power for days to almost the entire east coast? Most businesses and schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut were closed for more than a week. Entire cities were without power for days. There were literally millions of trees down, and power line damage was unprecedented; cleanup is still going on, months later. We received almost 2 feet of snow in the Berkshires and were without power for five days. In October! Seems a bit more dramatic than a big snowstorm in Chicago in January...

1:51PM PST on Jan 4, 2012

OUR CLIMATE IS CHAOTIC

11:12AM PST on Jan 4, 2012

Boże,a jak tam GRACE M.,daje radę!?!

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