What was the biggest weather disaster of 2012? Surprisingly, Hurricane Sandy doesn’t top the list

December 4, 2012

Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S. hard, leaving a multitude of Americans reeling from the tremendous devastation, loss of life and economic damage that may add up to $50 billion or more.  The storm and its aftermath dominated media outlets, spreading awareness and bringing in help and relief from all over the U.S.  But astonishingly, Hurricane Sandy may not be the most deadly or most expensive natural disaster of 2012.  Even though the level of economic damage has not been computed yet, the great drought of 2012 will most likely stack up as the costliest weather disaster this year.

In a recent article, Deutsche Bank Securities revealed the 2012 drought is expected to cut America’s GDP by 0.5 – 1 percentage points, representing a $75 – $150 billion price tag out of the total U.S. GDP, which stands at approximately $15 trillion.  The biggest drought since 1954 directly crippled farmers and ranchers nationwide and indirectly affected the entire supply chain, along with outdoor activities, commercial transportation and wildlife.  Increasingly, communities are recognizing the need to nourish and develop land in ways that help it better handle a changing climate and extreme weather conditions.

In October, the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) launched ‘Unlock the Secrets in the Soil,’ a national education and awareness campaign on improving soil health.  Educating the nation’s farmers and ranchers about the importance of improving soil health better equips them to not only survive but even thrive during weather disasters.  Improving soil health begins by using organic soil amendments which add nutrients and improves structure, creating endless benefits for the soil, including the strength to reduce erosion during droughts.  You can check out a full list of organic soil amendment benefits here.

While the economic effects of the 2012 drought may continue to take a significant toll, it is important now more than ever to create awareness about the importance of promoting soil health.  Healthy soils not only provide financial benefits for farmers, ranchers, gardeners, etc. but they also provide environmental benefits.

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