Climate Impact Report – 02/02

Quick Facts

90 million

people across 19 states are impacted by snow and ice dangers in the Midwest

Ocean heat

Extreme heat in the world’s oceans passed the “point of no return” in 2014 and has become the new normal


Texas regulators often miss pollution because its air monitors are disabled during hurricanes and major storms

Key Facts Of The Day 2/2

Storms and Flooding

  • Major winter storm unleashes snow and ice dangers in the Midwest that will impact around 90 million people across 19 states.

    • A cross-country storm system was beginning to take shape Wednesday morning as accumulating snowfall stretched from Colorado and New Mexico to Michigan.

    • Meteorologists say the storm will last into Friday, covering more than 2,000 miles and at least 19 states with snow and ice.

    • The snow and ice has prompted winter storm warnings from the southern Rockies to portions of New England.

    • The storm will also impact retailers and consumers, as weather conditions may slow down or even stop a few trucks from transporting goods through parts of the central United States for a few days this week.

    • Travel could become an absolute mess as significant snow and ice strike the center of the nation.

      • In Illinois, where 11 inches of snow had fallen in some places, the state Transportation Department warned of the “potential for extremely dangerous and, at times, life-threatening travel” on highways.

      • In Missouri, officials said that some interstates had become treacherous.

    • The heaviest snow is expected to accumulate from central Missouri to north-central Illinois, northern Indiana, southeastern Michigan, far northwestern Ohio and the far northern tier of the Northeast.

      • Columbia, Missouri, Peoria, Illinois, Fort Wayne, Indiana and Toledo, Ohio are likely to receive a foot of snow.

      • Forecasters are warning that areas south and east of the corridor slated to receive the heaviest snow will face a wide array of impacts such as major travel delays, power outages, tree damage, along with the potential for major interstate closures due to icing.

      • In St. Louis, Missouri public school students switched to online instruction.

    • As temperatures plummet with the passage of an Arctic cold front, winds will also increase and usher in even lower temperatures that could drop to zero and below as far south as West Texas.

      • In Dallas, Texas the public school system called off classes for Thursday and Friday.

      • In Lubbock, Texas, the city urged residents to sign up for emergency alerts.

      • In Arkansas, residents packed grocery stores to stock up on supplies as the governor activated the National Guard, and officials warned that ice could topple trees and power lines.

      • Much of Tennessee faced threats of flooding, with three to five inches of rainfall expected in some areas. Parts of the state were also bracing for as much as half an inch of ice on Thursday and Friday.

    • More than 1,400 flights were canceled nationwide and Amtrak paused train service across the Midwest and the South.

    • Mark Nelson, a farmer in eastern Kansas, said he welcomed the snowfall as much-needed moisture for the dry soils and depleted ponds.

  • Texas regulators often miss pollution because its air monitors are disabled during hurricanes and major storms.

    • Based on self-reported data from facilities, it’s estimated companies released at least 20 million pounds of pollutants during Hurricanes Harvey, Laura, and Delta, as well as Winter Storm Uri.

  • Climate change is also an economic problem. More severe weather events and shifting climate patterns will continue to create problems for people and businesses around the world, including the already impacted global supply chains.

    • Unseasonably cold winters or hotter-than-normal summers increase energy costs and prices for products like fans, AC units and generators.

    • Fires, droughts, floods and storms can affect the food supply chain and drive prices up.

    • Any extreme weather event can lead to property damages that then affect material and construction costs.


  • As of Friday, there are currently 2 large active wildfires that have burned 926 acres across CA and FL. As of Friday, 1,302 wildfires have burned 25,691 acres across the country.

  • As of Tuesday, the Colorado Fire in California has burned 687 acres and is 98% contained.

  • Colorado lawmakers will consider a bill to increase wildfire mitigation efforts, just one month after the devastating Marshall Fire.

    • The bill creates a working group of federal, state and local fire and public safety officials to increase wildfire education and develop yearly outreach campaigns on wildfire awareness and mitigation for those in the wildland-urban interface.

    • The Legislature is considering several other fire-related measures that would increase funding for local volunteer fire departments, give tax credits to people who do their own fire mitigation and another that would require new fire disaster insurance and casualty coverage.

  • According to the U.S. Fire Administration more than 46 million residences in 70,000 communities in the U.S. are at risk of fires.

    • The more you prepare for a wildfire crisis and the sooner you do it, the more likely it is that your business will survive it.

    • Businesses that are in areas that are prone to wildfires should not wait for the government commission to make their recommendations to start their fire mitigation efforts.

    • Wildfires create damage to assets and physical property, Supply chain disruptions, and workplace disruptions that prevent employees from doing their jobs.

Extreme Heat

  • Extreme heat in the world’s oceans passed the “point of no return” in 2014 and has become the new normal.

    • Scientists found that extreme temperatures occurring just 2% of the time a century ago have occurred at least 50% of the time across the global ocean since 2014. In some hotspots, extreme temperatures occur 90% of the time, severely affecting wildlife.

    • More than 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases is absorbed by the ocean, which plays a critical role in maintaining a stable climate.

    • The five worst affected ecosystems include areas off the north-east coasts of the U.S. and Canada, off Somalia and Indonesia, and in the Norwegian Sea.

    • 14 fisheries in Alaska have recently been declared federal disasters.

  • California water officials warn the state could face a third consecutive dry year as early snowpack dissipates.

    • The state’s overall snowpack measures 92% of average for this time of year, an extraordinary drop from the 160% of average that was recorded a month ago.

    • Officials are forecasting that by the end of the month, California’s reservoirs will have 76% of average water storage for this time of year.

    • The state gets most of its water during the winter months when storms bring snow to the mountain ranges.

    • In Fresno, California, records show it to be the driest January the city has seen in decades.

  • Lunar New Year treats like sponge cakes and pineapple tarts are more expensive to make after the drought in the U.S. impacted the harvests of a specialty wheat that’s a key ingredient.

    • U.S. farmers harvested 37% less soft white winter wheat this season, mostly due to excessively hot and dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest where the variety is grown.

    • Prices are up more than 50% from a year ago.

    • The shrinking crop comes on top of supply chain issues that have caused hikes for food and other consumer goods.

    • The U.S. is the top exporter of soft white wheat, shipping about 80% of output abroad.

    • Meat that goes into buns is also seeing inflation, and other items like red beans, winter melon and durian are scarce.

  • Advocates and laborers are pushing for a bill in the Florida Legislature that would expand heat protections for outdoor workers statewide.

    • The bill requires employers to put in place heat-exposure safety programs that offer preventive measures for workers against heat, like access to sufficient, free drinking water as close as possible to the workplace.

    • Workers who show mild to moderate heat illness must be pulled out of work and evaluated to see whether medical attention is needed.

    • Managers and employees must attend annual training on how to prevent, spot and treat heat-related illness.

  • Oregon OSHA has proposed new rules that would strengthen protections for Oregon workers against health and safety hazards linked to the impacts of climate change including extreme heat and wildfire smoke.

New Reports And Data

  • A February 2022 study found that more than half of the ocean surface has exceeded a historical heat extreme threshold on a regular basis since 2014.

  • A February 2022 study found that installing solar panels could help historic buildings beat the rising costs of energy.

  • A February 2022 study found that exposure to lead in drinking water from private wells during early childhood is associated with an increased risk of being reported for delinquency during teenage years.


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