Climate Impact Report – 01/18

Quick Facts


of people across the eastern U.S. were digging out from heavy snow Monday


is the total cost of 2021 tropical cyclones in the U.S., the highest total cost compared to other weather events

by 2100

Chesapeake Bay’s waters could suffer extreme heat for half the year

Key Facts Of The Day 1/18

Storms and Flooding

  • Millions of people across the eastern U.S. were digging out from heavy snow Monday after a massive storm system left its mark from Florida to Maine with tornadoes, freezing rain and snow.

    • Areas of Ohio got the most snowfall, with more than 2 feet reported in Ashtabula on Lake Erie.

    • Grand Island, New York, just north of Buffalo, got 22 inches of snow.

    • Banner Elk, North Carolina got 20 inches of snow.

    • More than 1,600 US flights were canceled as of Monday evening, after nearly 3,000 US flights were canceled Sunday.

    • Monday evening, nearly 50,000 customers were without power in six states from Georgia to West Virginia.

    • Gusty winds are expected to linger across the Northeast through Tuesday on the backside of the storm.

    • The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia activated members of the National Guard to help with storm response.

    • North Carolina authorities responded to 631 crashes on Sunday.

    • The storm system brought much more dangerous conditions to southwest Florida, where at least two tornadoes destroyed at least 28 homes in Lee County and damaged others.

      • One twister was an EF2 tornado with maximum winds of 118 MPH. It may have completely destroyed 30 mobile homes of the 108 mobile homes damaged near Fort Myers.

  • Two more winter storms are in the forecast for New Jersey this week with light snow expected Wednesday night into Thursday and a second system that could possibly produce significant accumulation Friday night into Saturday.

  • Cold temperatures blasted Texas this month, revealing strains in the natural gas system and that the state remains vulnerable to blackouts.

    • Texans’ power mostly stayed on, but many are worried the state still isn’t ready for the sort of prolonged freeze that arrived last February and caused deadly blackouts.

    • Early January raised concerns even without extreme conditions as gas producers reduced output and flared fuel they couldn’t use.

    • The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. also warned in November that grid conditions in Texas and elsewhere could again deteriorate in extreme circumstances.

  • Last Saturday, tsunami advisories were issued for the U.S. West Coast after an undersea volcanic eruption in Tonga.

    • The Berkeley Fire Department in California ordered a mandatory evacuation of the marina area Saturday morning, warning of waves of up to 3 feet by 7:30 a.m. local time.

    • In Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported waves slamming ashore from a foot in Nawiliwili, Kauai, to 2.7 feet in Hanalei.

  • 2021 tropical cyclones in the U.S. racked up the highest total cost compared to other severe weather events, adding up to a total of $78.5 billion.

    • Hurricane Ida alone, which dealt a particularly devastating blow to Louisiana, caused $75 billion worth of damage, making it the “most costly event of 2021,” as well as one of the top five most expensive hurricanes since 1980.


  • As of Friday, there are currently 2 large active wildfires that have burned 1,005 acres across AK, and LA. As of Friday, 457 wildfires have burned 7,080 acres across the country.

  • The Biden administration plans to significantly expand efforts to stave off catastrophic wildfires that have torched areas of the U.S. West by aggressively thinning forests around areas called “hotspots” where nature and neighborhoods collide.

    • Administration officials said they have crafted a $50 billion plan to more than double the use of controlled fires and logging to reduce trees and other vegetation that serves as tinder in the most at-risk areas.

  • Displaced Colorado Marshall fire survivors in dire need of housing.

    • Hundreds of families were left homeless after the Marshall Fire damaged or destroyed more than 1,000 structures at the end of December.

    • Those who lost homes are now having difficulty finding new housing arrangements due to a lack of availability.

    • There was already a lack of available housing before the fire.

  • One family lost their home and livelihood to the Marshall Fire after their restaurant got so much smoke damage it will need to be closed for months.

  • Colorado does not have statewide regulations on how homes should be built or rules on how landscaping and other open space should be managed to survive wildfires better.

    • Some counties and municipalities are starting to develop their own rules to build better homes to survive wildfires.

    • Under Boulder County’s rules, new homes must be constructed with fire-resistant roofing and siding. Exterior vents need a mesh cover to keep embers out and three feet of gravel is required around the home’s foundation.

    • The towns of Superior and Louisville don’t have wildfire-resistant building rules.

      • Louisville is now considering whether new regulations could limit damage and losses in future fires.

    • The National Fire Protection Association now advocates that states like Colorado adopt statewide wildfire building codes.

  • The increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires will likely hamper the recovery of the Pacific fisher.

Extreme Heat

  • As heat spikes, U.S. outdoor workers face a ‘health or pay’ dilemma.

    • U.S. workers from farm laborers to builders could lose billions of dollars in earnings each year as extreme heat makes it difficult for them to work outdoors safely.

    • Heat-related fatalities among outdoor workers also disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic people, who are over-represented in outdoor labor such as agriculture.

  • Chesapeake Bay’s waters could suffer extreme heat for half the year by 2100.

    • The frequency of heat waves in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay is increasing, a trend connected to rising atmospheric temperatures that could have devastating impacts to the bay ecosystem.

    • Summer flounder, which fisheries managers have already detected moving northward, would likely decamp for colder currents, along with striped bass. Other species traditionally found only farther south could move in to take their place.

    • More frequent marine heat waves could aggravate hypoxia in the bay, potentially pushing the ecosystem past a dangerous tipping point.

  • Beavers have been moving into the Arctic, accelerating the effects of climate change.

    • The warmth of the ponds the beavers create with their dams can thaw the frozen ground below and accelerate climate change.

    • Too many beaver dams block river passages and can reduce water downstream and the fish population.

  • High temperatures and air pollution during pregnancy can cause babies to have lifelong health effects.

    • Exposure to smoke from wildfires doubled the risk of severe birth defects.

    • Reduced fertility was linked to air pollution from fossil fuel burning, even at low levels.

    • A California study found a mother’s exposure to wildfires in the month before conception doubled the risk of a birth defect called gastroschisis.

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee readies a $600M plan to address climate change.

    • After much of Washington state baked during last summer’s extreme heat, Gov. Inslee is proposing to spend $626 million for climate protection.

    • Funding will be allocated to reduce carbon emissions from buildings, invest in clean energy and transportation and appropriate $100 million toward rebates for buyers of electric vehicles.

New Reports And Data

  • A January 2022 survey found that individuals who have been repeatedly exposed to major disasters show a reduction in mental health scores.

  • A January 2022 study  found strong evidence that the Sixth Mass Extinction of global biodiversity is in progress and is entirely caused by human activities.

  • A January 2022 study found that the locations and timing of tiger shark movement in the western North Atlantic Ocean have changed from rising ocean temperatures, leaving them more vulnerable to commercial fishing.


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