New Englanders got a taste recently of Mother Nature’s wrath when a series of tornadoes touched down in Springfield, Massachusetts and surrounding areas, leaving devastation and death in their wake.
While devastating tornadoes don’t occur as frequently in the Northeast as they do in the Midwest or in the deep South that was hit so hard in April, the potential for severe weather or a hurricane the size of Katrina still exists and should be addressed. And while scientists don’t entirely agree about the impact of global warming on weather patterns, many concur that climate change affects weather by intensifying storm systems.
The past winter saw extreme snowstorms throughout the Northeast corridor. Seventy buildings in Massachusetts alone—mostly flat-roofed commercial structures—had either partial or complete roof collapses or were evacuated as a precaution because of heavy snow accumulation, the Boston Globe reported. The situation was intense enough for Gov. Deval Patrick to seek federal assistance.
In early February, residents at Cromwell Gardens, an 80-unit condominium complex in Cromwell, Connecticut, were evacuated in the early morning hours because of concerns about the structural integrity of the snow-covered flat roof. About 400 people stayed in an emergency shelter for several days while safety officials and a structural engineer checked the snow load, according to a news story on WTNH.com.
“Catastrophes happen everywhere. We’re seeing an escalation in the damages because of the huge increases in development. The experts say catastrophic losses double every 10 years,” says Loretta Worters, vice president of communications for the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), an insurance industry trade group.