Even the Weather is Bigger in Texas

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlabar/146816429/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Martin La Bar</a>/Flickr


Gov. Rick Perry’s default solution to his state’s disastrous drought was to ask Texans to pray for rain. But residents of the Lone Star State had a whole lot of other weather problems to pray about this year.

On Tuesday, Climate Central took a look at the ten states most affected by this year’s weather chaos—and found that Texas tops the list. The ranking took into account the number of people killed by extreme weather events, the price of damage, and how it affected the lives of average residents. Here’s what Climate Central had to say about Texas:

Texas was hit by eight of the nation’s billion dollar disasters – the most of any state in the country. Of the eight, the three most devastating were drought, heat, and wildfires. The drought still grips the state, and it is the most intense one-year drought on record. Unlike past dry periods, the damage to the state has been aggravated by record-breaking heat. Groundwater levels in much of the state have fallen to their lowest levels in more than 60 years, according to observations from NASA satellites.

The heat during the summer of 2011 was relentless, with many cities smashing records for the longest stretch of 100-degree days, including Dallas with a record 70 straight days with 100-degree heat, and San Angelo with a whopping 98 days above 100. July 2011 was the hottest month ever recorded statewide, and Amarillo, Texas reached 111 degrees on June 26, an all-time record high for that location where records date back to 1892.

Alabama, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas, Connecticut, Vermont and New Jersey rounded out the top 10. Nationally, there were twelve billion-dollar disasters this year, including hurricanes, wildfires, drought and tornadoes. And there’s more to come in the future, if you believe climate scientists. Which Rick Perry doesn’t, of course.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.