Hurricanes Versus Droughts: Which Is Worse?

The recent devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy left over 100 people dead and caused an estimated $60 billion in damage within the U.S. And while the horrific loss of property and life is terrible, some say the recent drought is even costlier in loss of life and property. The costs of the great drought of 2012 is still unknown, but it is expected that the cost will far surpass that of the most recent superstorm. The drought is also expected to cut America’s Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, by .5 to 1 percent, which equals out to a total of $75 to $150 billion dollars in damage to the U.S. economy. Likewise, while the loss in human life has yet to be determined for this year’s drought, the U.S. droughts of 1980 and 1988 had death tolls totaling 10,000 and 7,500. Most of the deaths were associated with the accompanying heat waves.

Regardless of which natural disaster caused the most damage or killed the most people, the fact remains that climate change is a legitimate concern in our day and age. It can no longer be ignored. Lawmakers especially need to be mindful of the impacts of global climate change on their constituents. As storms and drought events become bigger and bigger, it is only a matter of time before the next climate change affected natural disaster happens.

If the Dust Bowl of the 1930s is any indication of what can happen, citizens of this great planet need to take to heart that climate change is a real threat, and it will more than likely only get worse as time goes on. First, legislation needs to be enacted to combat further climate change, and in light of efforts to forestall this, money needs to be appropriated to implement disaster response plans that can deal with the ferocity of such events. We did learn from the Dust Bowl, including how to farm more effectively without upsetting the delicate balance of the land, and can learn from the current crisis. The question is, can we still act to prevent any further global climate change, or is it too late for that?

For more information about comparisons of disasters in the U.S., visit: