Officials of the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York said at least 2,941 monthly weather records were broken this year in communities throughout the United States.
The health-related consequences of extreme weather events are not only expensive, they can be life threatening to the elderly, chronically ill and disabled -- people who often cannot leave their home -- and the tool helps them and relatives determine the extreme weather risk in their local area. This population often cannot move from their home.
"From heat waves to floods to fires, 2011 was a year of extreme weather for communities throughout the United States. This alarming, yet illuminating data is indicative of what we can expect as climate change continues," Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist at the NRDC, who spearheaded the development of the Web-based tool, said in a statement. "Actions can be taken today to limit the worst effects of climate change. Our leaders need to make climate change preparedness a priority, if these events will be occurring more frequently and with more intensity."
A recent Health Affairs study highlighted the health costs associated with extreme weather events showed that just six climate-related events in recent years caused $14 billion in healthcare costs, the NRDC said.
The map is at http://www.nrdc.org/health/extremeweather/.