Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle - Center for ...

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Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle - Center for ...

tore up the Dallas-Fort Worth region, leaving 28,000 homes without power andcausing an estimated $1 billion in damages. 116 In early June 2012, two hailstormsin the Southwest dropped baseball size pellets on Colorado, Texas, and Wyomingresulting in $1.7 billion in damages. 117In April and May 2011, the Midwest experienced an astounding 1,065 tornadoes,causing more than $26 billion in damages. 118 There were 553 tornado fatalities in2011—the second highest loss of life from tornados in a single year. 119The single deadliest tornado in U.S. history hit Joplin, Missouri in May 2011,taking 157 lives. 120 According to Census data, Joplin has a median annual householdincome of $36,884—29 percent below the U.S. median. 121 The city’s povertyrate is almost 20 percent, with even greater economic distress in the outlyingareas. 122 Tina Beer, operations director for the Missouri Housing DevelopmentCommission, said “The tornado [in Joplin, Missouri] could not have picked aworst path to go through as it relates to affordable housing.” 123Alabama bore the largest loss of life from tornadoes out of any U.S. state during thepast two years, with 241 fatalities in 2011. To make matters worse, many Alabamansare not particularly well-prepared to cope with the resulting financial burden fromdamages. Thirty-six of the 42 Alabama counties affected by these tornadoes in 2011have poverty rates higher than the national average. In fact, 14 of the Alabama countieshit by tornadoes in 2011 have poverty rates above 20 percent. 124The Wall Street Journal reported that one badly battered community wasBirmingham, Alabama, where 26 percent of the population lives below thepoverty line. 125 Birmingham is still struggling to rebuild from 2011 storms.Birmingham’s fire marshal, C.W. Mardis, said the people that are newly homelessfrom the storms are unlikely to have the financial capacity to rebuild. He notedthat they need government assistance that may take a long time to arrive. 12620 Center for American Progress | Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle- and Lower-Income Americans

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