May tornadoes, derecho storm push weather damages past $25 billion so far this year

The following article is provided by CBS News

By Aliza Chasan

Updated on: June 10, 2024 / 4:25 PM EDT / CBS News

A deadly outbreak of tornadoes last month caused $4.7 billion in damages across the Southern, Southeastern and Central U.S., making it one of the costliest weather events of the year so far, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there had been 11 confirmed weather and climate disaster events so far this year with losses exceeding $1 billion, with the total price tag topping $25 billion. There were more than 165 tornadoes during the May 6-9 outbreak, impacting Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, officials said. 

A southern derecho —a widespread and long-lived wind storm associated with rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms— also caused more than $1 billion in damage in May, according to government data. The May 16-17 storm spanning from Texas to Florida killed at least eight people and caused $1.2 billion in damages. Winds topping 110 mph tore through parts of central and eastern Texas during the storm. The NOAA described May as a “turbulent month.”

may 2024 billion dollar disasters A map of the U.S. shows the 11 weather and climate disasters that struck this year, each costing $1 billion or more, that occurred between January and May.NOAA NCEI

The list of damaging weather events in May may grow with additional events during the NOAA update in early June, an agency spokesman said. The cutoff date for this analysis was mid-May and there were several costly hail events that occurred during the second half of May that are still being reviewed.

Other notable storms from this year include a January winter storm in the northwest and multiple tornado outbreaks in April. In March, damaging hail, tornadoes and high winds cost $5.9 billion, adjusted for inflation. Officials said a preliminary count showed 450 tornadoes across the U.S. in March and April combined. The deadliest single tornado of the year to date hit Greenfield, Iowa, on May 21, causing widespread destruction and killing five.

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which is predicted to be above normal, began at the start of June and will last until Nov. 30. Federal forecasters predict 17 to 25 named storms, 8 to 13 hurricanes, and 4 to 7 major hurricanes of category 3 or higher. 

For all United States hurricanes, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina is the costliest on record, incurring $200 billion in damage. Harvey in 2017, Ian in 2022, Maria in 2017 and Sandy in 2012 cost $158.8 billion, $118.5 billion, $114.3 billion and $88.5 billion, adjusted for inflation, respectively.

2023 billion dollar disaster map A map shows the costliest weather and climate disasters in the U.S. in 2023.NOAA

In May, officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency joined NOAA officials to announced the hurricane outlook for the season. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell at the time noted that severe weather was “becoming part of our new normal,” while FEMA Deputy Administrator Erik A. Hooks. said that severe weather events “continue to increase in frequency and duration.”

“In recent years, there were just 18 days on average between billion-dollar disasters, compared to 82 days in the 1980s,” NOAA spokesperson Adam Smith said. “These shorter time intervals between disasters often mean less time and resources available to respond, recover and prepare for future events. This increased frequency of events produces cascading impacts that are particularly challenging to vulnerable socioeconomic populations.”

Last year, there were 28 weather events with losses exceeding $1 billion each —surpassing the previous record of 22 in 2020. Nearly 500 people died in those storms. Criswell warned in August of 2023 that the organization’s disaster fund could dry up and delay the federal response to natural disasters.

FEMA’s May major disaster relief fund report, which covers 2024 as of the end of April, seems to show the fund may be more than $1.3 billion in the red by August

“FEMA continues to work with the Administration and Congress to ensure sufficient funding is available,” a FEMA spokesperson said in a statement. “Without additional funding, FEMA will take steps prior to funding exhaustion to ensure resources are available to support ongoing lifesaving and life sustaining activities and provide a reserve for initial response and recovery operations for a new catastrophic event.”

In 2022, there were 18 extreme weather events that caused at least $1 billion in damage each, totaling more than $165 billion.

FY25 Appropriations

The following are links to the FY25 requested budget by NOAA (Blue Book, Congressional Justification)

https://friendsofnoaa.earth/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/NOAA_Blue_Book_FY25_Budget_Summary.pdf

https://friendsofnoaa.earth/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/NOAA_FY25_Congressional_Justification.pdf

Read the full FoNOAA letter sent to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.

https://friendsofnoaa.earth/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Friends-of-NOAA-FY25-Appropriations-Request.pdf

Friends of NOAA seeks $7.5B FY budget for NOAA

On May 1, 2024, Friends of NOAA released its FY25 NOAA budget request for NOAA, which exceeds the administration’s budget request. Critical infrastructure, observations and resilience programs at NOAA are in need of robust funding during a time when the country faces more billion dollar disasters on an annualized basis.

Please find the full letter here.

https://friendsofnoaa.earth/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Friends-of-NOAA-FY25-Appropriations-Request.pdf

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National Hurricane Center (NHC) to update products in 2024

From the National Hurricane Center on “X” (formerly Twitter); April 11,2024

The National Hurricane Center is updating products and services for the upcoming 2024 hurricane season, including the following:

1) Spanish language advisory text products
NHC will expand its offering of Spanish language text products to include all Public Advisories, the Tropical Cyclone Discussion, the Tropical Cyclone Update, and Key Messages in the Atlantic basin, and the Public Advisory, the Tropical Cyclone Discussion, the Tropical Cyclone Update, Key Messages, and the Tropical Weather Outlook in the eastern Pacific basin. These products will be issued experimentally in 2024 and will use AI techniques tested in 2023.

2) Issuance of U.S. watches and warnings on Intermediate advisories:
In order to allow for additional flexibilities for the issuance of U.S. tropical storm, hurricane, and storm surge watches and warnings, the NHC/NWS will now have the ability to issue those watches and warnings on Intermediate advisories. Previously, tropical storm, hurricane, and storm surge watches and warnings could only be issued for the United States on full or special advisory packages. Full advisory packages are issued at 5 AM, 11 AM, 5 PM, and 11 PM EDT. Beginning in 2024, NHC will be able to issue U.S. tropical cyclone watches and warnings with regular or intermediate Public advisories.

3) Extension of tropical storm (39 mph, 34 kt) and 58 mph, 50 kt)) wind radii
forecasts to days 4 and 5:

NHC is extending its tropical storm 39 mph (34 kt) and 58 mph (50 kt) wind radii forecasts to days 4 (96 hours) and 5 (120 hours) in the NHC Forecast/Advisory (TCM) in 2024. Previously, NHC has provided these forecasts out to 3 days (72 hours). Hurricane-force (64-kt) wind radii will continue to be provided out to 2 days (48 hours).

4) Weblinks in the Public Advisory:
The Tropical Cyclone Public Advisory (TCP) product will include, as needed, a reference to websites that provide pertinent graphical hazard information beginning with the 2024 hurricane season. The weblinks are intended to help reduce the length of the TCP product and to direct the focus to the most significant and impactful storm surge and rainfall hazards and areas.

5) Change to the time zone reference in the eastern Pacific:
Beginning on or about May 15, 2024, the time zone of reference for most eastern Pacific tropical cyclone forecast products will change. Most of Mexico no longer observes Daylight Saving Time, therefore Central Standard and Mountain Standard time will be used in lieu of Daylight Saving Time within those two time zones. Since Daylight Time is used within portions of Baja California and the southwestern United States, Pacific Daylight Time will continue to be used within that time zone when Daylight Saving Time is observed.


6) Experimental Cone Graphic with a depiction of inland watches and warnings for the United States:
Beginning on or around August 15, 2024, NHC will begin issuing an experimental version of the cone graphic that includes a depiction of inland tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings in effect for the continental United States. The experimental cone graphic will be available on hurricanes.gov for both full and intermediate advisories. The current operational cone graphic will continue to be available, and there will be no changes with respect to how watches and warnings are displayed on that graphic (i.e., only coastal watches/warnings will be depicted).

7) Experimental international tropical cyclone rainfall graphics:
The Weather Prediction Center (WPC) in partnership with the NHC will issue an experimental rainfall graphic for the Caribbean and Central America during the 2024 hurricane season. This graphic provides a display of forecast rainfall totals associated with a tropical cyclone or disturbance for a specified time period, based on forecaster discretion. The graphic will allow for enhanced communication of the expected rainfall to external partners, media, and the general public. The product will be publicly available via hurricanes.gov whenever there is an active tropical cyclone or potential tropical cyclone in the region with a rainfall statement in the Public Advisory.

8) Annual update to the track forecast error cone:
The size of the tropical cyclone track forecast error cone for the Atlantic basin will be about that same through 48 h but slightly larger from 60 h through day 5 as compared to 2023. For the eastern North Pacific basin, it will also be similar in size to the 20232 cone through 60 h, and slightly larger at days 3 through 5.

9) New Marine Forecast Product “Offshore Waters Forecast for the southwestern North Atlantic Ocean”:
The current Offshore Waters Forecast for the Southwest and Tropical North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea issued by the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) of the National Hurricane Center will be divided into two new products beginning Tuesday, March 26, 2024 by 1030 AM EDT (1430 UTC). The new Offshore Waters Forecast product will consist of all the Atlantic zones currently north of 19N and be named “Offshore Waters Forecast for SW N Atlantic Ocean” (WMO ID/AWIPS ID FZNT25/MIAOFFNT5). The remaining zones in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic waters south of 19N will comprise the newly re-configured “Offshore Waters Forecast for the Caribbean Sea and Tropical N Atlantic” (WMO ID/AWIPS ID FZNT23/MIAOFFNT3).

For more information:

NHC_Updates_2024.pdf (noaa.gov)

NOAA’s FY 2025 Budget Request

From NOAA’s Office of Communications (March 13, 2024)

NOAA’s FY 2025 Budget Request Supports Biden-Harris Administration Goals   Priorities include observational infrastructure, climate resilience and expanded data and services

NOAA’s fiscal year (FY) 2025 budget request proposes $6.6 billion in discretionary appropriations, an increase of $187.9 million from the FY 2024 annualized continuing resolution level. The request prioritizes investments in the critical operational and infrastructure activities that support NOAA’s ability to carry out its mission. These substantial investments, along with other targeted increases, build on investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) designed to foster a climate-ready nation and support economic development through enhanced science, data and observational capacity.   “People count on NOAA every day for reliable and actionable climate and extreme weather information to help make informed decisions that help save lives and livelihoods,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “This budget will allow NOAA to improve on our legacy systems while also providing significant improvements in diverse data and product services we provide the nation every day.”   NOAA will continue to integrate equity across the organization by improving capabilities, and honing product development and service delivery in tribal and underserved communities.  

Invest in critical satellites
NOAA satellites are critical for NOAA’s mission, as well as the security, safety and prosperity of the nation. Data from these satellites provide essential support to all segments of the U.S. economy. NOAA will continue investing in observational infrastructure to ensure the next-generation satellite systems meet the ever-expanding needs of the nation. Concurrent investments in the current and next generation of environmental satellites, such as continuing the development of the GeoXO satellite program, will provide sustained observations from geostationary orbit to provide improved weather forecasting, real-time monitoring of air quality conditions and improved ocean forecasting and fisheries management.  

Expand climate products and services to build climate resilience
As part of a whole of government approach, NOAA’s FY 2025 request will invest in delivering actionable environmental information to decision makers focused on the risk areas of wildfires, floods, drought, extreme heat, the coasts, marine resources and overall climate risk mitigation while NOAA also continues to implement Executive Order 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. Highlights include: Establishing an end-to-end value chain for climate and weather data and services by investing more in observational infrastructure, decision-support tools, service delivery and conservation across its diverse set of missions. Optimizing the NWS Integrated Dissemination Program to ensure the reliable and timely provision of weather and climate predictions, forecasts and warnings to the public, emergency management partners and the U.S. weather enterprise. Supporting more days at sea and hours in the air for research needed to support critical mission requirements and complete the acquisition of a second high-altitude Gulfstream G-550 research jet to study hurricanes, atmospheric rivers and other weather phenomena using FY 2025 funding and previously approved IRA funding.

Provide science and data to inform economic development
The FY 2025 budget will allow NOAA to continue to foster environmental stewardship while optimizing advances in science and technology to support value-added, data-driven sustainable economic development, with a particular focus on the New Blue Economy. Highlights include: Continuing to support the Administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, minimizing the effects of offshore energy projects on protected marine resources, fisheries and important habitats, and mitigating impacts to NOAA assets and fisheries surveys. These and other activities will protect biodiversity and promote ocean co-use while supporting renewable energy development. Supporting the production of 42 million hatchery salmon and steelhead released in the Columbia River Basin, which will translate into the harvest of about 250,000 fish that add to commercial, recreational and tribal fisheries. These funds will augment the $60 million in IRA funds for Columbia River Basin hatchery-deferred maintenance and repairs. Enhancing commercial space companies’ experience obtaining regulatory approvals and providing a simple method to disseminate information regarding U.S. space activity regulation, standards and best practices.  

Bolster equity
NOAA will continue to support Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government and EO 14091 Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. NOAA will integrate equity across the organization by improving capabilities and knowledge sharing, and honing product development and service delivery in tribal and underserved communities.

Update and maintain crucial facilities
Safe and modern facilities are vital to support NOAA’s mission of science, service and stewardship. In FY 2025, NOAA will continue investments to reduce its deferred facilities maintenance backlog and perform planned leasehold improvements.   To read the FY25 Congressional Justification and for more information, visit our website.      

Note: NOAA will host a stakeholder briefing within the next few weeks where NOAA leadership will share details and answer questions about the FY25 Budget.

NWS Transformation

As announced at the NWS Partners Meeting at the American Meteorological Society’s Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD during January 2024, the National Weather Service (NWS) is implementing a plan to make the agency more flexible. Information about NWS Transformation objectives and activities can be found at the following web address:

NWS Priorities & Action Strategies for the Future — “Ken’s 10” | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa.gov)

NWS Priorities & Action Strategies for the Future — “Ken’s 10”

Transforming the NWS into a more nimble, flexible, and mobile agency that works eye-to-eye with critical decision-makers in building a more Weather-Ready and Climate-Ready Nation.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Priorities & Action Strategies for the Future – more fondly known throughout the NWS as “Ken’s 10”, named after NWS Director Ken Graham – are designed to ensure that the NWS remains an indispensable, global leader in providing equitable weather, water, and climate services to decision-makers anytime, anywhere. Taking on ten key initiatives at a time, Ken’s 10 is building a workplace focused on the health and well-being of the NWS’ people, infrastructure, and future.

About

When NWS Director Ken Graham began his tenure in June of 2022, he embarked on a series of conversations with employees that highlighted a major opportunity for the NWS to pioneer a more nimble, flexible, and mobile agency. These conversations inspired the creation of ten priority initiatives titled “The NWS Priorities & Action Strategies for the Future,” designed to build an NWS that provides decision support services when, how, and where they’re needed to create a more Weather-Ready and Climate-Ready Nation.

The NWS Priorities & Action Strategies for the Future serve three overarching themes: People, Infrastructure, and Future, as outlined by the NWS Strategic Plan 2023-2033 and Transformation Roadmap, and they focus resources and attention on common issues, clarify common goals, and acknowledge areas that need concentrated problem-solving and decision-making.

These change initiatives are not inclusive of all the important work happening across NWS, nor are they meant to cover the breadth of all NWS mission areas or the NWS projects underway and on a path to delivering results.

How it Works

Behind each initiative is a designated team of experts and leaders from across the NWS tasked with carrying the project from inception to final execution. When one project finishes, another will take its place, ensuring that there are always ten in “Ken’s 10.” Learn more about ongoing and completed projects below.

If you’re interested in learning more about the NWS Priorities & Action Strategies for the Future, please don’t hesitate to contact NWS Partnership Engagement Lead Cindy Elsenheimer or NWS Director of Change Management Richard Antoine.

RedLine Performance Solutions

https://redlineperf.com/

RedLine’s focus is on High-Performance Computing (HPC) at the application and system layers, with a history of consistently helping NOAA/NWS meet their mission objectives for the entirety of their 25-year corporate lifetime.  RedLine has worked with numerous models in various analyst and scientific software development roles, supporting both NOAA’s operational/production and research/development environments. The depth of RedLine’s expertise extends beyond scientific software development to managing the daily, 24×7 operational workload of NOAA’s models, and engineering, optimizing, and administering supercomputers and their system software. RedLine has grown to be a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador and American Meteorological Society (AMS) member with several teams of experts partnering with multiple NOAA organizations across the country.

Friends of NOAA at AMS

Friends of NOAA (FoNOAA) was present at the recent American Meteorological Society’s Annual Meeting, held January 29-February 1, 2024 in Baltimore, MD.  FoNOAA member organizations showcased their work and ties to the meteorological community, including intersections and arcs with NOAA.  In the Exhibit Hall, there were FoNOAA table top cards at several booths.  A big “thanks” to member institutions for promoting FoNOAA at AMS.  These interactions at AMS and other FoNOAA events are all part of FoNOAA leadership’s effort to broaden ties between FoNOAA and NOAA at all levels — which we believe will foster greater understanding of NOAA’s mission, and outline areas where FoNOAA can have meaningful impact.