Climate Impact Report – 01/06

Quick Facts

nearly 80mil

Americans under winter weather alerts for heavy snow, brutally cold temperatures, gusty winds and icy conditions

Marshall fire

Human remains found in the search for one of the two people reported missing during the Marshall fire

130 years

Used to mild winters, Texas experienced its warmest December in 130 years

Key Facts Of The Day 1/6

Storms and Flooding

  • Almost 80 million Americans under winter weather alerts for heavy snow, brutally cold temperatures, gusty winds and icy conditions.

    • As of Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service has issued various advisories, alerts, watches and warnings for 32 states, from Oregon to New York, related to two winter storm systems.

    • The first storm system is currently in the Upper Midwest region, bringing snow and wind across the Northern Plains and Great Lakes.

      • The first storm will continue to sweep the Great Lakes region, with the heaviest snowfall in parts of Wisconsin, Michigan and western New York. A frigid arctic blast with wind chill temperatures well below 0 degrees will move in behind it, according to the latest forecast.

    • The second is in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rocky Mountains, bringing rain and wind to the West Coast and heavy snow to the nearby mountain ranges, from the Cascades to the Rockies.

      • This storm could reach the East Coast by Friday morning, bringing more snow to the areas along Interstate 95, one of the busiest travel corridors in the country.

  • Calls mounted Wednesday for an investigation into Virginia’s handling of a snowfall that paralyzed the East Coast’s busiest highway that left some motorists stranded for more than 24 hours on Interstate 95.

    • Many lacked food or water, and some ran out of gas.

    • One expert questioned the homeland security risks of I-95, a major thoroughfare leading to the Pentagon and nation’s capital, being crippled for hours.

    • Many of those who were trapped reported receiving no guidance, information, or support for hours as they attempted to ration gas, stay warm

  • The D.C. region continues to recover from Monday’s major snowstorm.

    • Power outages and downed trees remain, and some schools are still closed or have delayed openings.

    • Officials warned that some roads, including those in the Fredericksburg area of Virginia where Interstate 95 was shut down Monday and Tuesday, may still be closed at times because of icy conditions.

    • At about 3 p.m. Wednesday, more than 70,000 Dominion Energy customers were without service in Virginia.

  • Despite years of devastating floods, the state still hasn’t implemented a plan to protect West Virginians.

    • When the rain comes down hard, the whole community of Bartley is hit: homes and businesses are devastated, bridges wash out, utility poles are toppled and roadways are destroyed.

    • Despite ongoing flooding throughout the state, including a flood five years ago in several other counties that killed two dozen West Virginians, state officials have failed to act on most of the recommendations from a nearly 20-year-old state flood protection plan.

  • Climate change could lead to hurricanes expanding their reach further north into the Atlantic, potentially affecting cities such as Boston and New York.

    • Warming temperatures could lead to tropical storms moving further north when they form in the Northern Hemisphere.


  • As of Monday, there are currently 2 large active wildfires that have burned 7,219 acres across CO, and NC. As of Monday, 23 wildfires have burned 285 acres across the country.

  • In Colorado, 1 fire has burned a total of 6,219 acres as of Monday.

    • The Marshall fire burned 6,219 acres and was 74% contained as of Monday.

      • According to fire scientist E. Natasha Stavros from the University of Colorado Boulder, the Marshall fire was made worse by climate change.

      • Human remains found in the search for one of the two people reported missing during the Marshall fire.

  • Health risks of smoke and ozone rise in the west as wildfires and extreme heat worsen. Researchers suggest the increase is linked to climate change.

    • High levels of the pollutants smoke and ozone can affect the lungs and cardiovascular system, aggravate chronic diseases like asthma and lead to premature death.

    • Between 2000 and 2020, millions of people in the Western United States were exposed to more days of combined harmful smoke and ozone pollution each year.

Extreme Heat

  • Heat waves and threats of drought along the West Coast threatens the region’s power grid.

    • Rising heat means higher demand for climate control, including air conditioning, which will stress the West Coast power grid.

    • The West Coast grid system is connected to the Northwest system. Rising heat in California could require more electricity pulled from the shared power grid in the Northwest, impacting price and reliability of power in both areas.

    • The most likely time of year for the West Coast to experience these stresses are in the summer and early fall.

    • If demand was high enough in the Pacific Northwest and California at once, electricity could reach a price of $1,000 per megawatt per hour in California.

  • Texas is used to mild winters, but the state experienced its warmest December in more than 130 years.

    • Temperatures across Texas last month were, on average, 5 degrees to 9 degrees above normal.

    • A professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, said seasonal temperatures in Texas average around 2 degrees warmer now compared to the 20th century because of climate change.

  • The recent record snowfall is improving drought conditions throughout Idaho, following last year’s dry spring and summer heatwave.

    • The Natural Resources Conservation Service says the Wood and Lost River mountains where the drought was the worst has seen the most snowfall.

  • The past decade ranks among the warmest ever recorded in North Carolina.

    • November 2021 in North Carolina was the driest month in 90 years.

New Reports And Data

  • A January 2022 study found that climate change could lead to more hurricanes hitting Northeastern cities.

  • A January 2022 study found that climate change could lead to power outages and higher power costs on the west coast of the United States.

  • A January 2022 study found that deforestation increases risk of flash flooding in coastal areas.


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