Climate Impact Report – 04/14

Quick Facts


Severe thunderstorms ripped through portions of the Midwest and the Mississippi Valley on Wednesday

McBride Fire

Two people have died in the McBride Wildfire


As of Thursday, there are currently 11 large active wildfires that have burned 26,158 acres across AZ, CO, NM, OK, and TX

Key Facts Of The Day 4/14

Storms and Flooding

  • Severe thunderstorms ripped through portions of the Midwest and the Mississippi Valley on Wednesday, killing at least one person in Arkansas and causing damage in several other states.

    • Fast-moving storms swept through Louisville, Kentucky, knocking out power and blowing over trees onto cars. Similar damage was reported in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.

    • As of early Thursday, more than 40,000 customers in Mississippi and more than 30,000 in Louisiana were without electricity. More than 25,000 customers were without power in Kentucky.

    • On Tuesday, a cluster of storms swept through Central Texas, spawning at least one tornado with maximum sustained winds near 165 MPH. That storm injured at least 23 people, 12 of whom were taken to local hospitals.

  • A level 1 out of 5 “marginal risk” of severe weather is up for much of the Eastern Seaboard on Thursday.

    • Thunderstorms will begin to develop during the late morning or early afternoon.

    • Only isolated severe weather is expected. Some storms might stir up gusty winds to 60 MPH. Otherwise, most other cells will be accompanied by heavy rain and brief winds gusting between 30 and 40 MPH, along with some lightning.

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell and National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned that much of the nation is unprepared for worsening natural disasters, particularly storms that intensify rapidly and leave little time for evacuation.

    • Criswell and Graham said their agencies are struggling to develop messages that will motivate people to protect themselves or evacuate from approaching storms.


  • As of Thursday, there are currently 11 large active wildfires that have burned 26,158 acres across AZ, CO, NM, OK, and TX. As of Thursday, 18,550 wildfires have burned 799,831 acres across the country.

  • As of Thursday, the McBride Fire in New Mexico has burned 4,312 acres and is 0% contained.

    • Ruidoso Police detectives and the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau announced Wednesday two people have died in the McBride Wildfire burning in Ruidoso.

    • Homes were among the structures that had burned, but officials on Wednesday did not have a count of how many were destroyed in the blaze.

    • Strong winds forced a suspension of the aerial attack on the flames and kept authorities from getting a better estimate of how large the fire had grown.

    • In Ruidoso, officials declared a state of emergency and said school classes were canceled Wednesday as the village coped with power outages due to down power lines.

    • The residences that burned were mostly a mix of trailers and single-family homes, and close to 4,000 people were displaced by evacuations that were ordered Tuesday. That number was expected to grow with the latest call for residents to leave.

  • As of Thursday, the Big Hole Fire in New Mexico has burned 904 acres and is 0% contained.

  • The fire season has become year-round given changing conditions that include earlier snowmelt and rain coming later in the fall.

Extreme Heat

  • Expanding megadrought leaves the western U.S. scrambling for water.

    • From the Pacific Northwest to the Colorado River Basin, irrigation districts already are warning farmers to expect less this year despite growing demands fueled by ever-drying conditions.

    • On Thursday, federal water managers are scheduled to share their annual operating plan for the Rio Grande, a major water source for millions of people and thousands of square miles of farmland in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico.

    • Mark Garcia, who farms about 400 acres with his family in Valencia County, New Mexico found they would be compensated for not irrigating about half of its acreage this year, and more water would be left in the river to help New Mexico work off a debt that has been growing as the state falls short of its obligations to deliver water to neighboring Texas.

    • In the Pacific Northwest, experts are predicting one of the driest summers on record, noting that nearly 71% of the region made up of Oregon, Washington and Idaho is in drought and nearly one-quarter is already experiencing extreme drought.

  • Federal officials say it may be necessary to reduce water deliveries to users on the Colorado River to prevent the shutdown of a huge dam that supplies hydropower to some 5 million customers across the U.S. West.

    • As water levels in Lake Powell fall, the dam becomes less efficient. At 3,490 feet, it can’t produce power. If levels were to fall below that mark, the 7,500 residents in the city at the lake, Page, and the adjacent Navajo community of LeChee would have no access to drinking water.

    • If power production ceases at Glen Canyon Dam, customers that include cities, rural electric cooperatives and tribal utilities would be forced to seek more expensive options.

  • Driven by climate change, thawing permafrost is radically changing the Arctic landscape.

    • As temperatures rise and patterns of precipitation change, permafrost and other forms of ground ice become vulnerable to thaw and collapse.

    • Wildfires, which have been increasing across the Arctic, have been increasing the risk.

    • When the ground thaws, microbes begin feasting on organic matter in soils that have been frozen for millennia. These microbes release carbon dioxide and methane, potent greenhouse gases. As those gases escape into the atmosphere, they further warm the climate.

    • Massive lakes, several square miles in size, have disappeared in the span of a few days.

    • The thaw and collapse of buried glacial ice is also causing hillsides to slump at increasing rates across the Russian and North American Arctic, sending soil, plants and debris sliding downslope.

    • Ice-rich ground collapses, leaving the landscape wavy where it once was flat.

New Reports And Data

  • An April 2022 study found that historically redlined neighborhoods are burdened by excess oil and gas wells.

  • An April 2022 study found that some plant species could help to remove toxic heavy metals and metalloids from contaminated soil.

  • An April 2022 study found that 75 gigajoules a year or less, is enough energy to lead a good and healthy life, but Americans use 284 gigajoules a year.


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