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Colorado has seen its rate of natural disasters increase by 1350% over the last 4 decades


Last updated 1/22/2020 at 1:56pm

The Fountain Valley area has experienced some terrible natural disasters in recent years. Two major hail storms in 2018 and the bomb cyclone in 2019 wreaked terrible damage, and may be part of a larger pattern affecting the whole state. According to the website QuoteWizard, Colorado has seen its rate of natural disasters increase by 1350 percent over the last 40 years, ranking it the No. 1 highest rate increase in the nation.

QuoteWizard analyzed FEMA natural disaster data to find states that have experienced the highest rate increase of natural disasters from 1980-1999 compared with 2000-2017. Rankings are based on which states saw the largest increase in total number of disaster declarations in those two periods. The study found these states had the highest increases:

• Colorado had 58 natural disasters from 2000-2017 as opposed to 4 from 1980-1999, a 1350 percent increase.

• Nevada had 50 natural disasters from 2000-2017 as opposed to 6 from 1980-1999, a 733 percent increase.

• New Mexico had 61 natural disasters from 2000-2017 as opposed to 8 from 1980-1999, a 663 percent increase.

• Wyoming had 21 natural disasters from 2000-2017 as opposed to 3 from 1980-1999, a 600 percent increase.

• Oklahoma had 122 natural disasters from 2000-2017 as opposed to 18 from 1980-1999, a 578 percent increase.

The study also looked at how many total natural disasters occurred across the United States in those two periods. They found 1997 natural disasters happened in 2000-2017 and 751 natural disasters in 1980-1999, which means nationally, natural disasters have increased by 165 percent.

The study found the following patterns:

• In terms of percentage, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico saw the largest natural disaster increases with wildfires being the primary cause.

• In terms of total numbers, Texas, California and Oklahoma led the nation in natural disasters from 2000-2017 with fires being the primary natural disaster

• Fires were Colorado's most common natural disaster, which is true across the nation.

• Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin had the least impact from natural disasters with a combination of flooding and severe storms.

Various climate and man-made causes are behind fire-prone states' massive natural disaster increase. Wildfires in the western United States are not only becoming more frequent, but larger in size and deaths. California's five largest fires on record have occurred since 2010. The Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018 burned over 459,000 acres and is the largest fire in state history by a wide margin. The Camp Fire in 2018 was the state's deadliest fire on record, accounting for 85 deaths.

Many climate experts attribute wildfires' increase and severity in western United States to a temperature increase since the 1980's. Some argue a three degree Fahrenheit increase due to climate change has heavily impacted wildfires. Due to weather patterns changing, the western United States is experiencing more long wet winter weathers followed by long, hot and dry summers. Wet winters allows for foliage to grow in the forested regions. Then in summertime, this foliage becomes fuel for wildfires when extended hot periods make it dry out. These weather patterns, paired with containment firefighting practices over the last century, leave forested areas to become like kindling.

Humans are becoming the leading cause behind the largest wildfires. Power lines or humans have caused most of California's largest wildfires on record. Humans causing most large fires means a higher chance those fires will happen near large populations. As a result, wildfires are affecting more man-made structures and causing more human casualties. All climate change and human intervention factors are making wildfires the United States' most common natural disaster.

To read QuoteWizard's full report, go to:


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