Climate Impact Report – 03/16

Quick Facts

CA reduction

California Gov. Gavin Newsom asked in July for 15% reduction in water use, but residents have cut by just 6.4%


California’s largest reservoir, Shasta Lake, near Redding, was 38% full Tuesday, and its second largest, Lake Oroville, in Butte County, was 46% full.


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

Key Facts Of The Day 3/16

Storms and Flooding

  • Another large storm with cold air, high winds, rain and snow for higher elevations is forecast in the Northwestern region this weekend.

    • Rain persisted across the Northwest Tuesday, particularly along the Interstate 5 corridor, with the heaviest rain causing localized flooding Tuesday night.

    • With freezing levels fairly high, between 4,000 and 6,000 feet, there was some disruption over the passes.

    • Rain and showers could stretch from Central California to the Canadian border Saturday, with snow in the mountains.

    • The heaviest rain is forecast to fall from Oregon to Central California with some localized flooding, as well as some snow, in Donner Pass.

    • Rain and gusty winds are expected to extend to Southern California as well as parts of Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

  • A slow-moving weather system will unleash disruptive downpours and thunderstorms across Louisiana and to the Carolinas and Florida into the end of this week, and some of the storms could become severe.

    • The storms carry the potential to spawn isolated tornadoes and hail, with the first of the tornadoes coming Tuesday evening south of Monteverde, Florida.

    • The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for multiple cities in the west Orlando area.

    • On Thursday, there will be two separate areas at risk for heavy, gusty thunderstorms as the weather system progresses to the northeast.

    • North Carolina and Virginia will be in the path of potentially damaging thunderstorms.

    • Across areas to the north of the thunderstorm zone, steady rain could drench St. Patrick’s Day activities, such as the annual parade in New York City.

    • Even in storms that do not turn severe, lightning will pose a significant threat. People are urged to have a way of receiving all storm-related watches and warnings and to seek shelter at the first rumble of thunder.

  • A few locally severe storms may erupt as early as Thursday afternoon and evening in portions of northeastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma.


  • 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 Tuesday, 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 Tuesday, two of three wildfires making up the Chipola Complex Fire in Florida’s panhandle are 96% contained.

    • As of Tuesday, the Bertha Swamp Road fire, the third wildfire comprising the Chipola Complex and the largest in the state, is 75% contained after burning 33,131 acres.

  • Wildfire threat rises this week in Central Texas with dry air, gusty winds, and growing drought.

    • Spring in Central Texas typically means the start of shorts-wearing weather and drought-busting rain, but conditions this week are raising the danger for the spread of wildfires.

    • A red flag warning was in effect Tuesday afternoon across portions of the Hill Country and the I-35 corridor. Another red flag warning is possible Wednesday. Under a red flag warning, critical fire weather conditions are either occurring or will soon occur.

Extreme Heat

  • Hotter temps bring more pollen, meaning climate change will intensify allergy season.

    • By the end of the century, if carbon emissions remain high, allergy season could begin as many as 40 days earlier.

    • Pollen has major health consequences for a huge number of people. Millions of children struggle with asthma that pollen can affect.

    • And as temperatures keep warming, some plants may move and start growing in new locations.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom asked in July for 15% reduction in water use, but residents have cut by just 6.4%.

    • With wildfires, the pandemic and now a war in Europe, the public has spent the past two years immersed in crises and some experts say that has made it more difficult for people to realize the severity of California’s drought.

    • On Tuesday the Sierra Nevada snowpack was just 58% of its historical average, with winter nearly over.

    • Conditions in 2020, 2021 and 2022 are drier and hotter than conditions during the peak of California’s last drought, which was considered the most severe in the state’s history back to 1850.

    • California’s largest reservoir, Shasta Lake, near Redding, was 38% full Tuesday, and its second largest, Lake Oroville, in Butte County, was 46% full.

  • Louisiana is experiencing at least “moderate” drought, with 90.3% of the state falling into the “severe” and “extreme” drought categorizations.

    • In the “severe drought” stage, grass does not grow, the ground is cracking, grazing forage is lost, trees are stressed, and creek and bayou water levels are low.

    • In the “extreme drought” stage, rice crops become expensive to maintain, soybean yields are reduced, rye growth is stunted, saltwater intrudes into rivers making rivers too salty for irrigation, trees are stressed, and the crawfish population declines.

    • The South has experienced dry weather conditions for the past several weeks, and warming temperatures are expected to exacerbate the problem.

    • From November to February, Louisiana experienced its second driest period for those four months since 1895, with less than 10 inches of precipitation recorded statewide.

  • About 96% of Texas — including the Austin-area counties of Travis, Hays, Williamson, Bastrop and Caldwell — is experiencing some level of drought.

    • Any gains from the moisture the state got in February have been erased.

  • Texas’ Cotton Belt, which includes much of the Panhandle, Rolling Plains and South Plains, is experiencing severe to extreme drought, with large swaths of the regions entering exceptional drought status as of March 10.

    • Drought conditions make establishing cotton stands a challenge, even in irrigated fields.

New Reports And Data

  • A March 2022 study found that big trees can protect melting snowpacks in water-stressed environments.

  • A March 2022 study found that living near green areas reduces the risk of suffering a stroke by 16%.

  • A March 2022 study found that greenhouse gas emissions from air conditioners are expected to climb as economic growth drives efforts to control both temperature and humidity.


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