Climate Impact Report – 01/26

Quick Facts

great chance

Older Americans who regularly breathe even low levels of pollution face a greater chance of dying early

Kansas storms

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly requested a presidential disaster declaration for Dec 15 storms


in the U.S. West has decreased by about 20% in the last century

Key Facts Of The Day 1/26

Storms and Flooding

  • Cold temperatures remain for parts of the Upper Midwest as rain, storms, and cool air hit parts of the South, including the Gulf Coast.

  • Snowplow operator shortage mixed with heavy storms hits roads across Grand County, Colorado

    • The nationwide crisis involves a shortage of snowplow drivers stretching from Oregon to Rhode Island.

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida closed early Tuesday due to storms.

  • A powerful winter storm or nor’easter will form off the Mid-Atlantic late this week and charge up the East Coast over the weekend.

    • New England is bracing for what could be a major winter storm on Saturday, with heavy snow, strong winds, blizzard conditions and coastal flooding all within the realm of possibilities.

    • The zone from eastern Long Island, New York to eastern Maine, including Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts is particularly at risk.

    • New York could get a foot or more of snow this weekend.

    • AccuWeather’s early forecast map calls for about 6 to 12 inches for the eastern half of New Jersey and 3 to 6 inches for the rest of the state.

    • Power outages and flooding, particularly along the New Jersey coast and into New England, are possible.

    • Astronomical tides also will be high Saturday, making coastal flooding a greater concern even if the rapidly developing system shifts out to sea.


  • 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 Wednesday, the Colorado Fire in California has burned 700 acres and is 55% contained.

    • Experts say the Colorado wildfire adds to the evidence of climate change.

  • Older Americans who regularly breathe even low levels of pollution from smokestacks, automobile exhaust, wildfires and other sources face a greater chance of dying early.

    • Researchers concluded that 143,257 deaths could have been prevented between 2006 and 2016 if the standard for PM 2.5 had been tightened to 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly requested a presidential disaster declaration for Dec 15 storms.

    • The state was already suffering from dry conditions and the storm generated wind gusts between 60 and 100 MPH, causing severe damage across Kansas.  A combination of these two factors led to wildfires which burned over 160,000 acres and resulted in the death of two people.

    • The event was extremely rare with 90 MPH winds at 4,000 feet, which was stronger than any winds recorded at that level since 1955.

    • Kelly submitted the request through the Federal Emergency Management Agency asking for federal funding from the Public Assistance Program to help restore damaged public utilities, roads, and bridges.

    • The total estimated damage for all counties amounts to $15 million.

  • Creek County, Oklahoma is under a burn ban for the next two weeks because of a severe drought.

    • Rule breakers could face a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Extreme Heat

  • Climate change will not only make weather more severe but also harder to predict, potentially giving us less time to prepare for extreme floods, storms and heat waves in the years to come.

  • Snowpack in the U.S. West has decreased by about 20% in the last century, making man-made snow more vital each year to opening ski resorts and fueling ski town economies.

    • As the effects of drought and climate change increasingly hit home, the ski industry has invested millions of dollars in more efficient snowmaking systems amid questions about whether the practice is a wise use of energy and water.

    • Many resorts draw water from nearby streams or reservoirs and typically use compressed air and electricity to blow snow into piles on the slopes when it’s cold.

    • Snowmaking diverts about 1.5 billion gallons of water per year in Colorado.

  • After snowy December, California suddenly turns dry, magnifying drought concern.

    • Many parts of central California have seen almost no rain or snow so far this month.

    • Conditions have been so dry that an unusual midwinter wildfire erupted amid gusty offshore winds Jan. 21 and 22 just south of Monterey, prompting evacuations in Big Sur and closing a portion of Highway 1.

    • The official drought outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls for drought to persist in California into the spring.

  • Drought in the U.S. Plains continues to have an impact on soil conditions in Kansas.

    • The USDA says 77% of Kansas’ topsoil and 72% of the subsoil are short to very short of moisture, both above the late December totals.

    • 31% of Kansas’ winter wheat crop is rated poor to very poor.

New Reports And Data

  • A January 2022 study found elevated levels of lead in the soil of parkways and backyards across Chicago.

  • A January 2022 study  found that seafloor sediments have the potential to transmit a deadly pathogen to local corals and have possibly played a role in the persistence of a devastating coral disease outbreak throughout Florida and the Caribbean.

  • A January 2022 study found that the levels of microplastics in the Mediterranean are probably higher than estimated, but the methods used are not capable of recording them.


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