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2011 Natural Disasters: The Biggest Weather-Related Catastrophes Of The Year In Photos

First Posted: 12/20/11 02:15 PM ET Updated: 12/30/11 10:56 AM ET

2011 was not a pretty year in terms of natural disasters. Around the world, regions were slammed with extreme weather and catastrophes resulting in costly devastation and massive death tolls.

The U.S. broke its record for billion-dollar weather disasters. The Associated Press reported that in 2011, the U.S. saw more weather catastrophes costing at least $1 billion in damage than it experienced throughout all of the 1980s.

Tornadoes ripped through the U.S., devastating regions such as Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri.

One of the biggest stories of the year was the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March, killing thousands and wreaking havoc at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

Heat waves over the summer scorched the U.S. and Texas suffered from fires and its worst drought in decades. An earthquake rattled the East Coast in October, and Hurricane Irene followed shortly thereafter.

The U.S. also suffered from dust storms, flooding and snowstorms. Around the world, regions also suffered from droughts and floods.

Over 1,000 people were killed this year by weather in the U.S., according to National Weather Service Director Jack Hayes, who told the Associated Press in December he'd never seen a year like "the deadly, destructive and relentless 2011."

AP writes:

That's why the world has to do two things, said Princeton University geological sciences professor Michael Oppenheimer: try to slow global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and prepare better for extreme weather.

In November, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report stating that the world must prepare for more "unprecedented extreme weather" caused by global warming.

Was your region hit with extreme weather this year? Let us know in the comments below, and check out the slideshow documenting some of this year's extreme weather seen around the world:


To see more great photography visit HuffPost Exposure.

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Filed by Kathy Kottwitz  |