Skip to main content
article atm-icon bar bell bio cancel-o cancel ch-icon crisis-color crisis cs-icon doc-icon down-angle down-arrow-o down-triangle download email-small email external facebook googleplus hamburger image-icon info-o info instagram left-angle-o left-angle left-arrow-2 left-arrow linkedin loader menu minus-o pdf-icon pencil photography pinterest play-icon plus-o press right-angle-o right-angle right-arrow-o right-arrow right-diag-arrow rss search tags time twitter up-arrow-o videos

Suggested Content

Hurricanes, tornadoes, super cells, floods, atmospheric rivers, extreme heat, wildfires, drought – the list of extreme weather events grows as climate change drives their dangerous potential. At Americares, we know how crucial it is to prepare for extreme weather events, and we are determined to help the most vulnerable communities during such catastrophic times. We are always at the Ready to Respond when and where disaster strikes, and you should be, too. Do you have an emergency plan

What’s the prediction for the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season?

Extreme Weather Season

The science tells us that extreme weather does not create individual events; it intensifies them as global temperatures continue to rise. Extreme weather patterns are quickly turning into a new norm.

Extreme heat is creating deadly conditions in more regions – in India, Europe, the Pacific Northwest, Africa with the worst impact on vulnerable populations. Drought is causing water crises in the U.S. Southwest and Europe and famine in the Horn of Africa.  An annual wildfire season for the U.S. now sees fires burning year-round in California and much of the West.

“Tornado Alley” has moved eastward from the midwest to southern states with increasingly deadly results. Hurricane season starts earlier and stays longer bringing the frightening power of storms like Hurricane Ian. Major flooding followed after Hurricane Ida came through Louisiana with devastatingly high winds and heavy rainfall. Our team in Puerto Rico responded to catastrophic flood damage from Hurricane Fiona.

The worst monsoon in over a decade created epic flooding in Pakistan  and led to hundreds of deaths. And most recently flooding in south Florida came from a “once in a thousand years” storm. To prepare for the “danger seasons,” we have learned from decades of experience to Get Ready Now.

And keep an eye on the weather map on this page (it is interactive so you can move to another ocean area).

How to Prepare for a Disaster – Tips from a Preparedness Expert
The Ramos family returns to the ruins of their home

Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Floods…

Extreme storms and epic floods unleash destruction on an unimaginable scale. Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, Dorian, Typhoon Haiyan, floods in Pakistan, hundreds of tornadoes in the Southeast and Midwest U.S. stand as testimony to the escalating threat from climate change.

Extreme weather does not spare any region: in Germany nearly 200 people died and many more went missing; in China, as the heaviest rains in 1,000 years, deadly floods affected more that 1.2 million people; in Tennessee, dozens died as historic rainfall inundated communities with flash floods that swept houses and lives away; In India, the state of Maharashtra was hit by the heaviest July rainfall in four decades; in Pakistan flooding covered more than one-third of the country, creating an unimaginable humanitarian crisis

The tornado season peaks in the spring and the hurricane season follows in June and extends through November. The tornado outbreak in Kentucky, Tennessee and four other states, destroying entire towns and killing more than 80 people, illustrated the threat level of this terrifying force of nature. As the hurricanes form in the warming ocean and storm cells produce more tornadoes and flash flooding, it’s past time to Get Ready Now.

At Americares we see up close the staggering magnitude of extreme weather losses for families and communities – the personal history and common goods. Medicine security and access to health services become early casualties as emergency responders rush to provide the basics of food, shelter, clean water and hygiene in the first days. We know that immediate access to primary health services, including mental health support, along with basic medicines and medical supplies will save lives and restore health. Working with local partners, governments and other nonprofits to meet immediate needs, we then help survivors rebuild health facilities and services and restore hope for the future. No matter where extreme weather disasters strike, we are there and together with our partners, even in the worst times, we can make health happen.

Click on the arrow to see how we have responded to the worst of hurricanes.


While high winds cause great damage, storm surge can be the most deadly threat for coastal areas, along with major flooding from torrential rains. These storms can be tracked for days, however, and preparations can be made that save lives. As the hurricanes increase in ferocity it is important that now the forecasting tools are stronger and more precise. As the season lengthens, the areas that are at risk of hurricane strikes continue to expand – see this interactive map in the Washington Post.

And what about typhoons and cyclones? Physically, they are hurricanes by a different name. They are called hurricanes in the Atlantic and in the Eastern Pacific, typhoons in the West Pacific and cyclones around Australia and India.


A deadly funnel appears, giving only minutes of warning; the incredible power of the wind vortex in an EF-5 tornado can literally tear apart anything above ground. Important to pay close attention to your local warning system and to have a safe place to shelter below ground level quickly when a warning is heard. When the threat of tornadoes appears, having a safe shelter readily accessible could save lives.

There have been nearly 500 tornadoes reported in the first 3 months of 2023, nearly double the average for that time period. The U.S averages 1150 tornadoes per year and the threat has moved eastward creating even more deadly potential.


While major floods are often “slow moving disasters,” flash floods catch people unprepared in cars or at home. Flooding rivers and broken dams can sweep away entire communities particularly in low lying areas. Floods also contaminate water supplies, leading to water borne disease outbreaks, as well creating conditions for deadly mudslides. 

The effects of flooding are often exacerbated by human activity (i.e. building in flood zones, inadequate infrastructure, loss of wetlands and increasingly climate change). Where is the greatest flood risk in the U.S.? Click here to see a map of areas at risk.  

CalFire firefighting team sets a backfire along a dirt road.

Extreme Heat, Drought & Deadly Wildfires

Extreme heat kills nearly twice as many Americans each year as tornadoes and almost three times more than hurricanes. It is particularly deadly for the elderly and the poor. Countries in Southeast Asia (Vietnam and Thailand) are already experiencing another year of temperatures over 110°F for many days at a time. Air pollution on top of record temperatures substantially increases the deadly health risks for these affected countries. Parts of India and Pakistan have been experiencing weeks of a dangerous combination of heat and humidity (often referred to as “wet bulb conditions”) which limits the human body’s ability to cool itself. Western Canada and the U.S. are facing an early season heat wave that may rival the record extreme event of 2021.

Extreme weather is manifesting itself in record drought conditions that produce famine in some parts of the world.  Here in the U.S. drought followed by high winds and then combined with such phenomena as insect infestations in forest lands and manmade causes including land management and building code practices or electrical accidents have created the worst wildfires on record in California and in parts of the Southwest in the last three years. Visit the wildfire map for the latest fire activity. Check out the U.S. Drought Monitor to see the true extent of current drought conditions. The water crisis in the Southwest continues even after a heavier snow season. One season of precipitation does not make up for years of severe drought.

The fire season has become a year round threat in the U.S. In 2022, wildfires burned over 7 million acres with nearly 750,000 acres in September alone. Early rains provided relief in California and kept the totals below the previous two years but such deviations from the new normal are considered temporary. These fires, however, resulted in fatalities, the evacuation of many people, and numerous structures damaged or threatened. Additionally, wildfire smoke has resulted in unhealthy air quality across the western US. And in another twist of extreme weather as events intersect, to start the new year “atmospheric rivers” brought record floods and snow in California to areas already ravaged by drought and wildfires and creating the potential for deadly mudslides.

Americares has partners in all the affected states and has conducted wildfire response activities annually.

Climate change continues to intensify the deadly results of extreme weather events.

 (Photo by David Royal)

Recent History of Extreme Weather

As 2022 drew to a close, a massive winter storm in the United States, led to at least 60 deaths and wide spread power outages. Record snow fall, sub-zero temperatures and high winds left parts of the nation paralyzed during the holiday season with some areas reporting “storm of the century” conditions. Such storms remind us that hurricane season is not the only time that historic storms can impact large areas and thus good preparation has never been more important.

The extreme weather threat also means extreme temperatures, heat and cold. In 2021, the deadly Texas Cold Weather Crisis starkly demonstrated the impact that extreme weather can have on communities and basic infrastructure that have not adequately prepared for potential weather disasters.

Currently, the World Health Organization tells us that heat waves are considered among the most dangerous of natural hazards but rarely receive adequate attention because their death tolls and destruction are not always obvious. From 1998 to 2017, more than 166,000 people around the world died because of heat waves. The early summer deadly heat wave that hammered the Pacific Northwest killed dozens of people with temperatures rising past 120°F in some areas, as the extreme heat buckled roads and melted powerlines. A late July 2022 heat wave in the U.S. put more than 100 million people in 28 states at risk. Check out the areas of the U.S. most at risk from extreme heat in the New York Times U.S. Heat Tracker. And parts of northern and central India recorded their highest average temperatures for April 2022 and the cycle is repeating this year. Delhi recorded a temperature of 116°F. These record temperatures are especially deadly for the working poor. Read more about the development of “extreme heat belt” in the U.S. And in times of extreme heat, people with respiratory conditions are particular vulnerable to the accompanying reduction in air quality. For a current assessment of air quality in your region visit

The 2022 hurricane season began with Hurricane Agatha in the Pacific that made landfall Mexico, followed by named storms in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Forecasts called for a very active season, but several weeks were uncharacteristically quiet. The lull in storms ended in September as conditions became more favorable to storm development. Americares, while responding to the destruction of Hurricane Fiona on Puerto Rico, worked with multiple partners in Florida in response to the deadly impact of Hurricane Ian – a catastrophic storm that made landfall in Cuba and then struck the west coast of Florida with Category 4 strength in late September.

As the new season looms, check in with the National Hurricane Center for regular updates on storm activity. But don’t wait. Get Ready Now.

Years to Recover

In the 2020 Hurricane Season there were 30 named storms – the most active season on record. The 2021 season became only the third in history to use all of the names on the rotating seasonal list. The devastation left in the wake of multiple storms takes months, even years to restore and rebuild, and communities with the least resources are the ones facing the greatest challenges. Americares continues to support communities long after the storms have passed.

Extreme Threats

Extreme weather events create some specific challenges for Americares Emergency Response Team and our health care partners, and good planning provides response solutions. Building Resilience in the health system as the threats from climate change multiply becomes more and more critical. For example:

Abstract graphic of a shelter


Wind and subsequent water damage to roof, windows and doors of the facility — destroying equipment, medicine & supplies, rendering the facility inoperable when it is most needed.


Provide emergency repairs or a temporary facility, restock medicines/supplies, replace equipment and then build back better. And beyond repairs, the next step is to help build Climate Resilient Health Centers.

Abstract graphic of a power loss


Loss of power and thus loss of medicines that require refrigeration such as insulin and vaccines.


Solar Power and/or Generators with fuel to run them along with the rapid resupply of lost medicines. Tetanus and chronic diseases are life threatening without vaccines, medicines and supplies. In Puerto Rico for Hurricane Fiona, solar power made a difference.

Abstract graphic of an map


Loss of access to ongoing health care due to remote location and/or infrastructure damage. A particular threat to people with chronic disease, expectant mothers and children.


Send emergency medical teams to communities and house-to-house if necessary to provide primary health care and referrals for specialized care.

Abstract graphic of an evacuation


Evacuations to temporary shelters or to makeshift camps.


Hygiene kits, emergency medicine and supplies for those who had to flee quickly without their personal belongings or medications. Supplies such as mosquito bed nets, insect repellant, water purification and cleaning materials and tetanus vaccine are also important for those who return to their homes in the aftermath and face possible water and vector borne diseases and cleanup injuries.

Abstract graphic of an hug


Trauma and other extreme stress for survivors including health workers in the immediate aftermath of the storm.


Trained health workers to identify trauma and support programs for those most at risk, and especially support for health workers who are often survivors themselves.

As we get ready for the next super storm, we know that we can’t do it without you.

Please help your neighbors near and far with a gift right now.

Our Work:
Responding to Extreme Weather and other Disasters

A grandmother tends to a hurt child.
Colombia clinic health worker taking blood pressure of young woman
Americares staff member delivering medicines

Protecting the Vulnerable

Americares has expanded and deepened emergency programs to meet the formidable challenges of storm destruction on an ever-larger scale. We actively engage with our partners in regions particularly at risk for these storms to prepare for the next one by building greater resilience and capacity in each local health center and for every health worker. And in storm-prone regions, we often seek out and serve the most vulnerable members of a community – children, elderly, the very poor, single-parent families, expectant mothers and those with chronic disease. A person with diabetes will still need insulin after the storm and a mother about to give birth will still need a safe place to deliver. Emergency teams constantly evaluate and deploy new tools and programs that target local concerns and needs. The growing demand for mental health support in disasters has led to offer more mental health services to meet those needs. Better weather forecasting and tracking of storms allows us to deploy a team early, connect with our local partners and respond more rapidly when the storm strikes.  But even with better technology, we have learned to “expect the unexpected” in each disaster and be ready to adapt to conditions on the ground and respond accordingly.  Beginning in 2020, up to the present time, we have faced the enormous challenges of responding to extreme weather events in the midst of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic. Our commitment remains the same: to respond where help is needed.

We Expect

Emergency programs at Americares represent a continuous cycle of ReadyRespondRecover and then get Ready again, only better. Each disaster presents a new set of challenges to lay the foundation for a better response the next time around.  It is a dynamic process, ever changing as more extreme weather and unforeseen crises arise – always demanding that we increase our knowledge and capabilities. In that work, we are ever mindful and incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of our individual and corporate donors along with the presence of local partners who have the ground sense and skill necessary to meet the challenges and often only lack resources to prepare for them.

Mother and Child at a shelter
satellite photo of a hurricane