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U.S. on Pace to Shatter Billion-Dollar Disasters Record


By Greg Zimmerman Emergency Preparedness
buildings disaster

In 2021, the U.S. is on pace to shatter its annual record for billion-dollar disasters. Through September, there had been 18 billion-dollar and weather and climate-related disasters already, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (In 2020, there were a total of 22, the previous record.) 

This year’s climate and weather-related disasters include Hurricanes Nicholas and Ida in the south, California wildfires, drought in the west, hail storms in Texas and Oklahoma, extreme storms and tornadoes in the Midwest, and one whopper of a winter storm and resultant power outage in Texas in February. More than 500 people have died from these disasters, according to NOAA data. Hurricane Ida has been the costliest, with an estimated $60 billion of damage. This year is the 7th year in a row tallying more than 10 billion-dollar disasters.  

The increasing billion-dollar disasters and their resultant loss of life and property is another stark reminder to facility manager that extreme weather is here to stay, no matter where in the country you’re located. And for that reason, facility resilience is more critical now more than ever. 

Our July cover story looked at some of the best practices facility managers can employ to improve resilience, as well as how to find the money and make the justification argument to pay for resilience strategies. Again, facility resilience is becoming an absolutely crucial part of an FM's job. If you haven’t looked at how to make your facilities more resilient to disasters, now is definitely the time. 

Greg Zimmerman is editor, Building Operating Management magazine and FacilitiesNet.com

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