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March-April 2009

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Top 10 U.S. Weather Events of 2008

1)    Hurricane Ike—part of an active Atlantic storm system that featured 16 named storms and 6 consecutive storms that made U.S. landfall—struck Galveston, Texas, as an intense Category 2 storm on September 13, leaving a trail of damage from Texas to the Midwest.

2)    Heavy rains from March through June triggered historic flooding in the Midwest, culminating in the worst river flooding since 1993. The flooding peaked in June, when the Cedar River in Iowa broke all high water records and submerged the city of Cedar Rapids. 

3)    Category 2 Hurricane Gustav crossed the Louisiana coast on September 1, missing New Orleans but causing billions of dollars of damage in Baton Rouge and elsewhere across the state.

4)    In August Tropical Storm Fay became the first storm to make landfall in any one state on four separate occasions when it crisscrossed Florida. The storm dumped more than two feet of rain on Florida’s east coast.

5)    The Super Tuesday tornado outbreak on February 5-6 killed 57 people in 4 states, including 31 in Tennessee. This was the deadliest U.S. outbreak since 1985 and the deadliest February outbreak since 1971.

6)    A parade of winter storms resulted in the snowiest winter season in more than a century from Wisconsin to Maine.

7)    A severe weather outbreak on May 10-11 left 24 dead across the South, including 22 from a single tornado that ripped across northeastern Oklahoma and southwestern Missouri on the 10th.

8)    A severe storm outbreak across the Midwest from May 22-25 left 12 dead, including 8 fatalities from an EF5 twister in Iowa that was the state’s deadliest storm since 1978.

9)    Despite drought relief from powerful winter storms during January and February, record dryness during March-May returned severe drought to California, contributing to irrigation cutbacks, crop losses, and critical wildfire danger.

10)     December 2008 featured coast-to-coast severe winter weather, including one low pressure system from December 9-12 that brought snow to Houston and New Orleans, severe storms and flooding to other parts of the South, and an ice storm that left more than 1.27 million homes and business without power in the Northeast.


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