The economic impact from Long Island’s record cold in February is being calculated into one of 10 disastrous weather and climate events from 2015, each of which resulted in estimated losses of over $1 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
In all, a major winter storm and associated cold wave impacted 18 states from Feb. 14 to Feb. 20, causing 30 deaths and doing “considerable damage” in many states, according to the environmental information centers.
From the Feb. 14 storm, Long Island snowfall ranged from just a hint to around 3 inches, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center.
As for temperature, though, that stretch of time delivered the coldest days of a month that went on to become the coldest month since records started being kept for Long Island MacArthur Airport in 1984, said Jessica Spaccio, climatologist with the regional center.
Boston was especially impacted, with snow accumulation putting load-stress on buildings and clogging means of transportation. Losses in Massachusetts alone were reported to top $1 billion.
That’s according to the list of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, released Thursday by NOAA. In all, the 10 events led to 155 deaths and “significant economic effects on the areas impacted,” though detailed cost figures are not expected to be finalized until around June, a spokeswoman said.
Also included on the list were:
n December’s storm system that produced tornadoes in Texas and intense rain in the Midwest, resulting in historic flooding.
n Wildfires from summer through fall in the western United States and Alaska.
n October’s historic flooding in South Carolina and other parts of the East Coast.
Long Islanders may recall from February facing frozen pipes and water main breaks; leaks brought about by snow and ice jams on roofs; and interruptions in rail transportation. They saw the cost per gallon of heating oil soar from $3.08 early in the month to $3.52 on March 2, based on higher demand.
Though certainly no badge of honor, the Island has also figured into weather and climate events from previous years’ billion-dollar disaster lists.
Of special note was August 2014’s historic rainfall and flooding in Michigan and the Northeast, when MacArthur saw a deluge of 13.57 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. Then there was 2012, which brought October’s superstorm Sandy and its massive impact.
Sources for these cost assessments include the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies, along with state emergency management agencies, insurance industry estimates and media reports, according to the environmental information centers.
With Tom Incantalupo