Climate Impact Report – 01/24

Quick Facts


Due to the storms over the weekend, the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia declared states of emergency

Rising cost

U.S. households will pay between $700 and $1,700 more for heat this winter


near CA Highway 1 prompted evacuation orders in Monterey County on Friday night

Key Facts Of The Day 1/24

Storms and Flooding

  • A storm brought ice, snow and freezing rain across the Carolinas and parts of Virginia on Friday night and early Saturday.

    • The governors of the three affected states had declared states of emergency and urged residents on Saturday to stay off the roads.

    • About a quarter of an inch of ice accumulated on roads in a region that is unaccustomed to such wintry weather making travel dangerous.

    • The average yearly snowfall in Columbia, South Carolina, is 1.2 inches; this weekend, it got about 4 inches.

    • The storm also brought about six inches of snow to southeastern Virginia and up to eight inches to parts of northeastern North Carolina.

    • At the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, a Delta flight skidded on a runway and rolled into the mud.

    • The State Highway Patrol in North Carolina said troopers responded to more than 900 reports of crashes caused by the storm and hundreds of additional calls from people “sliding off the roadway and becoming stuck.”

    • Duke Energy was restoring electricity to about 10,000 customers in the Carolinas, mainly in the coastal areas, which got a rare dose of freezing rain.

    • Several school systems in all three states canceled classes on Friday.

    • By 1pm on Saturday, the storm was moving offshore toward the Atlantic Ocean and no further snowfall was expected.

  • One or more storms from Canada will bring the chance for snow to over 50 million people over the coming days and even another major winter storm that could impact the East Coast by next weekend.

    • The combination of a southward dip in the jet stream, that is unleashing cold air from central Canada to the north-central and northeastern U.S., and a series of disturbances from the northern Pacific Ocean will allow one or more fast-moving storms with snow to target portions of the lower 48 into Tuesday.

    • The first clipper storm dove southeastward over the Upper Midwest and produced a swath of accumulating snow from central Minnesota to lower Michigan Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning.

      • Chicago picked up nearly 4 inches of fresh snowfall Saturday to Sunday morning while residents farther west in Madison, Wisconsin, saw almost 5 inches and a snow report was recorded on the Wisconsin and Iowa border of just over 6 inches.

    • As of late Sunday morning, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation issued a speed restriction along western portions to the Ohio border along Interstate 80.

      • The speed limit was reduced to 45 MPH with tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles being advised to stay in the right lane only as visibility was reduced in a heavy snow shower.

    • By Monday night, the bulk of the snow is expected to shift from the Midwest into the eastern Great Lakes and Northeast.

    • The clipper will continue to the New England coast by Tuesday where a light snow is expected across much of New England.

    • By Tuesday, another wave of bitterly cold air will be ushered in across the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast that will last through late week.

      • Widespread temperatures well below zero can be expected Wednesday and Thursday morning.

  • Winter storms and spiking energy prices could lead to record high heating bills.

    • The significant increase in the costs of all types of heating fuel means that U.S. households will pay between $700 and $1,700 more for heat this winter, depending upon where they live and what type of fuel they use.

    • Natural gas, which is used to heat nearly half of all U.S. homes, is 32% more expensive than it was a year ago.

    • The price of heating oil, which is primarily used in older homes and buildings in the Northeast and other cold weather areas of the country, is up 35%.

    • The price of propane is up 44% in the Midwest, 29% in the Northeast, and 30% in the South, where its use is also common.


  • As of Friday, there are currently 5 large active wildfires that have burned 2,382 acres across AK, FL, LA, OK, and TX. As of Friday, 929 wildfires have burned 20,686 acres across the country.

  • As of Sunday night, the Colorado fire in California has burned 700 acres and is 35% contained.

    • A wildfire near California’s Highway 1, which winds along the Pacific coastline, prompted evacuation orders in Monterey County on Friday night.

    • Evacuation orders are mandatory for all areas West of 3800 Palo Colorado Rd. to Highway 1 and south to Bixby Creek.

    • The fire was sparked in Palo Colorado Canyon in the Big Sur region.

    • About 21 miles of Highway 1 was closed in both directions, between the entrance to Andrew Molera Park in Big Sur to Rio Road in Carmel.

    • Dry winds were pushing the fire toward the highway.

    • California experienced severe drought last year, which made for a devastating wildfire season.

Extreme Heat

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a North Point, Florida-based employer following an employee’s heat-related death in the Apalachicola National Forest.

    • Agency inspectors found that Earthbalance Corp. had exposed workers to hazards related to high ambient heat and failed to adequately train someone to perform first aid and ensure he or she was available to render assistance in heat-related emergencies.

    • Earthbalance faces $24,576 in proposed penalties.

    • On July 30, 2021, as temperatures neared 100 degrees, an Earthbalance supervisor saw a 42-year-old member of the crews assigned to clear invasive plants unresponsive. Without a cell phone signal, workers had to get help from a ranger station 14 miles away from the jobsite. By the time an ambulance became available, the worker had stopped breathing, and responders found no pulse. The worker was transported to a hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

  • With increasing temperatures, drought-resistant farming is catching on in New Mexico.

    • A local farmer began shifting to more drought-resistant crops, such as soybeans and Sudan grass, and away from thirstier alfalfa.

    • Whenever possible, he uses drip irrigation instead of the more water-intensive flood irrigation typically used in the Middle Rio Grande Valley.

    • New Mexico also has a fallowing program to boost the amount of available water, both for irrigation and for sending downstream to pay Texas what it’s owed under a water-sharing agreement known as the Rio Grande Compact.

      • New Mexico ended 2021 owing Texas more than 100,000 acre-feet of water.

  • Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is asking lawmakers for $10.4 million to create a better way to predict and monitor floods and drought in Missouri.

    • The funding will work on drought related issues such as improving the mapping of underground aquifers, particularly in northern Missouri, where water supplies are scarcer.

    • It also will expand the state’s Missouri soil moisture network to provide a better early warning mechanism for a developing drought.

New Reports And Data

  • A January 2022 survey found that river flows are linked to the ups and downs of imperiled Chinook salmon population.

  • A January 2022 study  found that computer simulations of snow cover can accurately forecast avalanche hazard.

  • A January 2022 study found that with a warming climate, atmospheric rivers will likely bring record-breaking precipitation events to mountainous parts of East Asia.


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