Weather Hazards

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Weather hazards impact the entire country, with enormous effects on the economy and public safety. Since 1980, weather/climate disasters have cost the U.S. economy more than $1.5 trillion. In an average year, the United States will be affected by six billion-dollar weather/climate disasters, but this number has increased in recent years: from 2013-2017 the average was 11.6 events.

Basics

Tornado funnel. Image Credit: NASA

Weather hazards include hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, hail, winds, and winter weather. Many of these phenomena are related to atmospheric conditions that can be monitored and forecast.   Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Latest News

Paricutín Volcano
(2019-04-12)
April 2, 2019 Several disaster aid bills were introduced in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee beginning on February 15 in a continuing effort to mitigate the economic and physical impacts of future natural disasters. Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC-11) has now introduced two...
IES Oceans Glyph
(2019-04-01)
March 13, 2019 On March 13, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP was last reauthorized by Congress on December 21, 2018, authorizing the program through May 31, 2019. The program has long struggled with...
Hazards fire houses
(2019-02-06)
January 16, 2019 On January 16, the House passed the Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 268) to provide over $12 billion in emergency funding for communities affected by earthquakes, wildfires, and other natural disasters in 2018. The bill includes amendments that would more than double the...
NASA hurricane satellite image
(2017-09-14)
August 29, 2017 In anticipation of Hurricane Harvey making landfall on the Gulf Coast, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were preparing for the massive storm by monitoring its...
Mammatus clouds that are usually associated with thunderstorms.
(2017-09-14)
August 28, 2017 Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Gulf coast of Texas as a category 4 storm on August 25, dumping massive amounts of rain on southeast Texas and surrounding areas. Widespread flooding and storm damage ensued as the storm moved over the land, displacing and endangering the lives...
Earth
(2017-05-18)
April 6, 2017 The Hazards Caucus Alliance, a network that supports the Congressional Hazards Caucus, hosted a briefing on April 6 about how geologic and hazards mapping and monitoring are used to prepare and protect communities from natural hazards. The Hazards Caucus provides congressional staff...
NASA hurricane satellite image
(2017-05-18)
April 18, 2017 The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act (H.R.353) was signed into law by President Trump on April 18. This law prioritizes U.S. leadership in weather forecasting and research by authorizing new forecasting programs and support existing programs. The bill primarily focuses...
Atlantic waves
(2017-02-07)
January 13, 2017 The Gulf Islands National Seashore will be the site of the largest coastal sand restoration project in U.S. history. As part of ongoing restoration and protection efforts an agreement between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the United States Army Corps of Engineers will...
NASA hurricane satellite image
(2017-02-06)
January 9, 2017 The House passed the “Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act” (H.R.353), on January 9. The bill directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to increase weather-related research, forecasting, and communication. Spurred on by the deadly tornadoes that...
NASA hurricane satellite image
(2016-11-03)
October 27, 2016 The The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are partnering to study how to improve communications during severe weather events and to encourage people to respond appropriately. The joint effort will include research from...

Case Studies & Factsheets

Tornado funnel. Image Credit: NOAA
Remote sensing imagery is used by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison to support recovery efforts after a tornado. Defining the Problem Following a tornado, first responders need maps of the width and location (swath) of the damage area. The biggest challenge when integrating remote...
Pre-Ike (left) and post-Ike (right) ASTER imagery of Galveston Island, the Bolívar Peninsula, and the mainland in August 2006. Healthy (red) and dead (brown) vegetation shows storm surge inundation effects. Image Credit: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observ.
Hurricanes bring not only intense rainfall, but also high winds and flooding. This flooding is powered by the hurricane storm surge: a rise in coastal sea level caused by lowered barometric pressure and by wind blowing the ocean onto the land. The result is that waves and currents affect areas that...
CI_Factsheet_2017_3_Deicing_170712_thumb
Background In areas prone to winter precipitation, transportation infrastructure must be able to quickly respond to snow and ice on roadways. Ice removal is a vital service in these communities. Deicing chemicals melt ice by lowering the temperature at which it melts. They can also prevent new ice...

GOLI Online Courses

GOLI Course: Assessing, Mitigating, and Communicating Flood Risk. Image courtesy of Maria Coxx Lamm
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

Flooding is a perennial hazard for rivers and coasts alike. Every year, flooding results in billions of dollars of damage and the loss of dozens to hundreds of lives across the United States. Efforts to mitigate this hazard rely on the work of geoscientists, planners, and communicators to assess...

GOLI Course: Planning for Coastal Storm and Erosion Hazards; Image credit: USGS/USFWS - photo by Greg Thompson
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

Coastal hazards are a widespread challenge that cost millions (and sometimes billions) of dollars in the U.S. every year due to property loss and spending on mitigation measures. Based on the most recent U.S. Census, over 39% of the U.S. population lives in areas that may undergo significant...

Geological Surveys Database Publications

2012, New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Minerals

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1980, Arizona Geological Survey
On May 3, 1887, a major earthquake shook much of the southwest United States and Mexico, an area of nearly two million square kilometers (Figure 1). This seismic event, with an estimated magnitude of 7.2 (DuBois and Sbar, in press), caused 51 deaths in northern Sonora, and major destruction of...
2003, United States Geological Survey
One hundred years ago this Memorial Day, the Kansas River overflowed its banks, flooding North Topeka with up to 12 feet of water in some places. Twenty-four people were drowned. Ninety years and almost 2 months later on July 25, 1993, floodwaters again threatened the city, but time and technology...
2003, Pennsylvania Geological Survey

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2001, United States Geological Survey

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1953, Ohio Geological Survey

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2002, United States Geological Survey

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2006, United States Geological Survey

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1982, Pennsylvania Geological Survey

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1994, West Virginia Geological & Economic Survey
Tabulated directory of all permitted mineral producers by commodity. Includes production figures statewide, by county, and by commodity. Revised biennially. Current issue is sent unless an earlier year is requested.