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At Least Four Billion-Dollar Disasters Struck the U.S. in August

September 17, 2020
Side-by-side satellite imagery loops showing hurricanes Isaias and Laura, the Midwestern derecho, and California wildfires.

Did you know that this past August, the contiguous U.S. saw at least four different billion-dollar disasters? There were hurricanes Isaias and Laura, the California wildfires, and the Midwest derecho. NOAA’s GOES-R series of satellites were able to monitor these events utilizing their Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instruments and derivative products to provide forecasters and first responders with the timely information that they critically need.

In the image above, we have (starting clockwise from top left) Hurricane Isaias, shown in GeoColor, which shows the Earth in as close an approximation to daytime True Color as is possible. Next, we see imagery of the Midwest derecho, where intense lightning activity (in-cloud, cloud-to-cloud, and cloud-to-ground) associated with it was detected by GOES-R’s Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM).

On the bottom right, Hurricane Laura, was viewed using a “sandwich loop” that combines GeoColor with an infrared band, showing the wind speed, height, and eye of the storm. Finally, satellite imagery of the California wildfires used a combination of Fire Temperature RGB and GeoColor to help visualize the extent of the smoke and heat signatures of the fires.

NOAA’s NCEI tracks all of the billion-dollar disasters that happen each year across the United States. The U.S. has sustained at least 273 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion.

For more information about billion-dollar disasters please visit this page.