Climate Impact Report – 01/28

Quick Facts


A major nor'easter is set to move up the U.S. East Coast and impact 75 million+ people this weekend

Tampa Bay

is more vulnerable to less intense hurricanes than anywhere else in the state


Climate change made rain estimates outdated and now put the U.S. at risk for more flooding

Key Facts Of The Day 1/28

Storms and Flooding

  • A major nor’easter is set to move up the U.S. East Coast and bring significant impacts to cities and more than 75 million people this weekend, beginning Friday evening.

    • Dangerous heavy snow and winds approaching hurricane intensity could knock out power and flood coastal areas.

    • Blizzard conditions are expected for more than 4 million people who live in coastal areas, including the Delmarva Peninsula and coastal New Jersey.

    • In some parts of New England, including Boston, 1 to 2 feet of snow is expected alongside powerful gusts of wind strengthening over 64 MPH.

    • Winter storm warnings have been issued up and down the East Coast, going as far south as South Carolina, while winter weather alerts are also issued as inland as Kentucky.

    • New York City could see as much as 8 to 12 inches of snow, while the Philadelphia region could get as much as 8 inches of snow.

    • By Friday morning, more than 1,200 U.S. flights had already been canceled for Saturday.

    • Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has declared a state of emergency ahead of a winter storm expected to hit the commonwealth Friday.

  • Tampa Bay, Florida is more vulnerable to less intense hurricanes than anywhere else in the state.

    • In Pinellas County, home to nearly 1 million people and bordered almost entirely by water, 1 in 5 built properties is at risk of flooding from Category 1 hurricanes. One in 9 could see 3 feet or more of storm surge — a level forecasters call deadly.

    • In Tampa, 1 in 9 could see flooding from Category 1 storms.

    • More than 700 essential properties like places of worship, gas stations, schools, government buildings and public utilities are at risk of Category 1 flooding. Category 2 storms expose 500 more. Almost 400 hotel properties, most along Pinellas’ famed beaches, are similarly vulnerable.

  • Climate change made rain estimates outdated and now put the U.S. at risk for more flooding.

    • Precipitation frequency estimates are outdated in at least 18 states, some by as much as 50 years. And the estimates, done on a state or regional basis, have never taken into account future projections for more intense rain.

    • Engineers, architects and others use the rain benchmarks to design highways, dams and retention ponds to be sure the structures can handle heavy rains.

    • The nation’s aging stormwater and wastewater systems already can’t keep up with the rainfall increases.


  • As of Jan. 21, 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 Friday, the Colorado Fire in California has burned 700 acres and is 75% contained.

  • Castle Rock, Colorado, designated as a “very high risk” wildfire hazard zone, adopted a wildfire protection plan.

    • Castle Rock’s plan talks about building homes out of ignition resistant materials and creating “linked defensible space,” or fire-resistant perimeters, around clusters of houses that have been built close together.

    • The plan also urges residents to create defensible space around their homes, in which trees and bushes near a structure are cut back to deprive a fire of fuel.

  • The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s (EMNRD) Forestry Division wants to remind residents to make fire safety a top priority this winter, especially when disposing of hot ashes or coals, to prevent wildfires.

    • Ashes and coals can remain hot enough to reignite for several days, and one small gust of wind can easily carry hot embers to nearby vegetation and homes.

Extreme Heat

  • Year-end climate reports show signs of a new and warmer normal that scientists say is likely to lead to more weather extremes.

    • Nearly three times as many weather stations measured record temperatures in 2021 as measured records in 2020, and the records were broken by significantly hotter temperatures than in the year before.

  • Surveys of residents where the Pacific Northwest heat dome took place suggest the disaster caused a spike in negative mental health related to climate change.

  • Since 2020, the Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations has been drafting a heat illness rule that would require employers to take measures to guard against overexposure to high temperatures.

    • Scientists project that the desert Southwest will only become hotter in the coming years, with forecasts showing additional warming across the state of Nevada anywhere from 4 to 10 degrees by midcentury, depending on high or low carbon emission scenarios.

    • The current version would require employers, whose workers are exposed to high temperatures, defined as at or above 90 degrees, to manage for heat as part of their written safety program.

    • The heat plans would be required to outline how employers would provide water, shade or cooling, rest for workers showing signs of heat illness and training, among several other requirements.

New Reports And Data

  • A January 2022 study found a link between air pollution from fracking to early deaths among nearby residents.

  • A January 2022 survey  found that the 2021 western North America heat dome increased climate change anxiety.

  • A January 2022 study found that storms over the waters around Antarctica drive an outgassing of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


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