2021 has brought with it no end of extreme weather conditions untypical of the time of year. We’ve had flash flooding, forest fires, record-breaking temperatures, and bizarre snowfall in Madrid. As you likely guessed, this is the result of global warming, the phenomenon that we have all been warned about for years. These disasters are no longer just impacting the third-world countries; they are beginning to hit every corner of the world. It is only now, in the wake of devastation across the western world that climate change is being taken seriously by the higher-ups. Now, we will take a look at some of the most extreme weather emergencies to hit the world in 2021.
Scorching Heat in Northwest America
Across the Northwest US, a heat dome swept the region in what is described by National Geographic as one of the most extreme examples of weather around the world. This intense heat saw unprepared areas across much of the region being evacuated because they simply couldn’t cope. Even Canada has been impacted by this weather emergency, with Lytton being decimated by wildfires as a result. If you want to help prepare for the better management of such emergencies, you can complete an emergency management diploma with Wilfrid Laurier University.
Storm Christoph Across the UK
The name may not sound that harsh, but this storm cooked up the wettest three-day period ever recorded between the 18th to 20th January 2021. The storm led to flash floods where homes were devastated and neighbourhoods were evacuated. Alongside this devastation, ice snaps led to a shutdown of many roads. After a rocky 2020, this storm set pre-emptive anxiety of what was to come through the rest of 2021.
Turkey and Greece Battles Wild Fires
Happening at the time of writing, August 2021, much of Europe enjoyed record-breaking heatwaves. However, the true cost of basking in the sun is being felt across much of Europe, including Turkey and Greece, as wildfires sweep the nation. These fires have led to the evacuation efforts of popular tourist locations including Bodrum and Marmaris in Turkey. Over in Greece, the site of the ancient Olympics has been saved as fires continue to rage on. Fortunately, despite the sheer devastation, the loss of life has been minimal. However, there have been reports that more than 50 people have been hospitalised.
With the microclimate enjoyed by Turkey, forest fires are prevalent during the summer. However, while this one is underway, there are claims that some of the fires have been caused as a result of “arson or by outlawed Kurdish militants”.
Intense Snowfall in Madrid
Madrid usually faces light snowing in the winter months, but that all changed at the beginning of 2021. For the first time in 50 years, Storm Filomena brought an extremely heavy storm that led to the elderly being advised to stay indoors. Residents of the city saw transport come to a complete halt. The devastating damage caused by this bizarre blizzard racked up to an eye-watering total of around $1.4 billion.
Winter Storms in Texas
February bought brutally sub-zero temperatures to Texas, with cold snaps of -13 degrees. These unusual temperatures wiped out power to over 3 million properties, including businesses being left in the dark. With a loss of power, the most vulnerable people were left to fend for themselves in extreme conditions. Unfortunately, these harsh conditions brought about the deaths of 210 people. Typically, the weather for Texas in February doesn’t drop below -3.3 degrees.
Fiji Faces Cyclone Ana
Fiji was battered by Cyclone Ana just one month after Cyclone Yasa tore across the country. This cyclone led to the formation of over 318 refuge centres that helped a total of 10,000 people, all forced to leave their homes. The devastation left behind by storm Ana is catastrophic, and the road to recovery will be a long one. Here’s hoping that another weather emergency doesn’t come and sweep through the islands of Fiji.
China Embraced Dust Storms
Across China, schools were closed and the majority of flights were grounded as the sky turned orange and China faced the worst sandstorm in around 10 years. Unfortunately, this wasn’t your usual run-of-the-mill sandstorm – it was a dust storm. The dust storm carries much smaller particles and travels further and higher. As a result of this storm, pollution was trapped in the air and made for extremely hazardous breathing conditions.
Flooding in West Germany
In July, cataclysmic flooding devastated Western Germany and much of Belgium. Homes were destroyed and infrastructure was decimated in villages including that of Schuld. These extreme conditions were caused by cold and low-pressure conditions. Scientists have dubbed this phenomenon Bernd. The death toll of these horrendous floods sits at over 180. The areas impacted by these conditions have been pledged a fund of 400 million euros by the government to support the recovery of the area.
Flash Flooding in New South Wales
After extremely heavy downpours of rain, the residents of New South Wales felt the extremities of harsh weather conditions. The area of Sydney saw no less than 18,000 residents being evacuated from their homes when dams overflowed and rivers ran wild. Other areas of Australia were also affected by the rainfall, which was the highest volume recorded since 1949. In March 2021, there was 907mm of rainfall recorded in comparison to the usual 243mm. After floods devastated Sydney, there were more than 17,000 insurance claims registered with the Queensland and NSW insurance companies – the cost to the economy will be enormous.
Freak weather incidents have taken place every year. However, this year marks the first year that practically every corner of the world has been hit by some form of catastrophe. In the midst of the global pandemic, and on the back of a turbulent 2020, there is no surprise that people are feeling anxious and scared. Hopefully, with the attention this weather has gained from the Western world, we will start to see drastic changes in the way we look after our planet.