Climate Impact Report – 03/15

Quick Facts


A worsening drought in the southern U.S. Plains is threatening the region's winter wheat crop just as the Ukraine crisis dents global supplies


crops were hit hard by the weekend freeze resulting in significant losses


confirmed in Fannin County as hail and storms pounded North Texas on Monday

Key Facts Of The Day 3/15

Storms and Flooding

  • As of Tuesday, strong to severe thunderstorms will be possible for parts of the ArkLaTex region as a cold front moves through.

    • Large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes will all be possible along with heavy rain that will spread across the Gulf Coast states and into the Southeast and Florida over the next few days.

  • The last full weekend of winter was a snowy one across the Northeast as a major storm blasted the region with heavy snow, strong winds and a record-challenging chill.

    • Heavy snowfall and high winds caused near-blizzard conditions across a swath of the Northeast on Saturday, with blizzard warnings active for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains for the first time since the Blizzard of 2016.

    • At the same time the blizzard warnings were active, parts of Virginia’s southeast, including Virginia Beach, were under a tornado watch.

    • Snowfall totals were much higher across the interior Northeast where plows, shovels and snow blowers were needed to clear roads, sidewalks and driveways.

    • A significant pileup occurred during the height of the snowstorm on Saturday afternoon southwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A massive 73-car pileup was reported on eastbound 581 amid heavy snow and gusty winds.

    • In Scranton, Pennsylvania, officials canceled the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, which is one of the nation’s largest, and rescheduled it for next Saturday.

    • At one point, more than 17,500 electric customers in Pennsylvania were out of power, as well as more than 15,000 people in Maryland and 10,000 in Virginia.

      • Most of the outages related to the storm came not from heavy snowfall, but from high winds and severe thunderstorms in the Southeast.

    • Onshore in North Carolina, a gust of 77 MPH was measured at Carolina Beach.

  • A line of severe storms pushed through Florida, including the Tampa Bay area, on Saturday morning, bringing heavy rain and damaging winds.

    • In Highlands County, there were reports of wind damage at the Leisure Acres mobile home park in Sebring. Multiple mobile homes in the community saw roof and carport damage.

    • In Polk County, a semi truck overturned on Highway 98 north of Bartow as storms moved through.

    • Another overturned semi truck was spotted just north of the Tampa Bay area.

    • An apartment building appears to have walls and a portion of the roof ripped away.

  • Tornado confirmed in Fannin County as hail and storms pounded North Texas on Monday.

    • Tuesday morning showed heavy damage to several structures, including sheds and barns, and some roof damage to homes.

    • Power outages also struck the Leonard area, with reports of substation damage and wires down in several spots.

  • Blueberry crops were hit hard by the weekend freeze resulting in significant losses.

    • Since 1980, freezing temperatures have resulted in about a billion dollars of economic impact to the Carolinas.

    • When temperatures dropped to 20 degrees Sunday morning in the Charlotte metro, some crops that were unable to withstand the freezing temperatures were lost for the rest of the season.

    • At The Ivy Place, a farm in Lancaster, South Carolina, 80% of the blueberry crop was lost. Blueberry crops only bloom once per year and do not have a second chance at recovery.

    • At Hall Family Farm, also in Lancaster, they lost nearly 100% of the blooms under single covers and about 50% of the blooms under double covers.


  • As of Friday, there are currently 13 large active wildfires that have burned 57,357 acres across CA, FL, KS, NM, OK, and SD. As of Friday, 11,663 wildfires have burned 287,468 acres across the country.

  • As of Sunday, three sweeping wildfires that started last week in the Florida Panhandle have burned more than 34,000 acres and are threatening surrounding communities amid dry and windy weather.

    • As of Sunday, two of three wildfires making up the Chipola Complex Fire in Florida’s panhandle are 95% contained.

    • As of Sunday, the Bertha Swamp Road fire, the third wildfire comprising the Chipola Complex and the largest in the state, remained at 60% containment after burning 33,131 acres.

  • As wildfire season approaches in Arizona, residents are advised to get rid of what can fuel fires such as dead grass and weeds around their homes.

Extreme Heat

  • A worsening drought in the southern U.S. Plains is threatening the region’s winter wheat crop just as the Ukraine crisis dents global supplies.

    • Some farmers in southwestern Kansas, the top U.S. wheat producing state, have not received much measurable rain or snow since October.

    • Severe drought is also covering three-quarters of Oklahoma and more than two-thirds of Texas, both of which also are large wheat producers.

    • As of March 13, just 23% of Kansas’ wheat crop was in good condition or better, while 38% was rated poor to very poor.

    • Normally, farmers would sell about half their crop before harvest, but some Kansas farmers are proceeding cautiously, unable to fully capitalize on soaring futures prices due to concerns they might not be able to fulfill such contracts.

  • Water levels in the Great Lakes have danced around record highs recently, but some are now seeing their lowest levels in years.

    • Lake Superior dipped to 600.92 feet above sea level in February, its lowest mark since 2013. 600.92 feet is nearly a foot lower than Lake Superior was in February 2021.

    • In February, Lake Michigan-Huron measured at 579.13 feet – about 18 inches lower than last February. While that’s still higher than the 104-year average, it’s the lowest mark since 2017.

  • Great Salt Lake water levels are still at record lows.

    • The Great Salt Lake is six feet lower right now than it normally would be.

      • The Great Salt Lake is a weather maker and pollution capper. The middle Wasatch Mountains rely on the boost of lake effect snowfall.

  • Outdoor and some indoor water restrictions will be imposed in Utah this year.

    • All of Utah remains in drought, but only a third of the state remains in extreme drought.

    • Outdoor water use will be cut by 60%. Agriculture water use gets cut by 40%.

    • This year, the district will also require a 10% cut on indoor water use.

  • Socio-economic factors affect a country’s ability to cope with extreme temperatures.

    • People in low-income countries are more likely to be exposed to heatwaves, and in turn, will likely suffer worse consequences in the years to come.

New Reports And Data

  • A March 2022 study found that fast-melting alpine permafrost may contribute to rising global temperatures.

  • A March 2022 study found that permafrost peatlands in Europe and Western Siberia are much closer to a climatic tipping point than previously believed.

  • A March 2022 study found that many regions of the world will enter permanent dry or wet conditions in the coming decades, under modern definitions.


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