Climate Impact Report – 05/06
Severe storms threaten 70 million people across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic after producing tornadoes across multiple states.
Thousands of people told to flee the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire have chosen to stay and defend generational homes in the mountains of northern New Mexico, even as some run out of food and water.
In California, which is entirely in drought conditions, the water content in the state's snowpack was just 4% of normal by the end of winter.
Key Facts Of The Day 5/6
Storms and Flooding
- Severe storms threaten 70 million people across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic after producing tornadoes across multiple states.
- The cities of Atlanta in Georgia, Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina, and Virginia Beach and Norfolk in Virginia are all under an enhanced risk for severe storms – level 3 of 5.
- Damaging wind gusts are expected to be the most prevalent hazard in the morning hours, increasing the possibility of tornadoes in some afternoon storms.
- Heavy rain of up to three inches will create a flood threat in the Mid-Atlantic.
- Flood watches are posted for central Pennsylvania, eastern Maryland, and northern Virginia, affecting Baltimore, Washington DC, and other cities.
- On Thursday afternoon, a potential tornado struck the Whispering Pines RV Park in Rusk County, Texas, damaging and flipping vehicles.
- After being struck by tornadoes on Thursday, much of Seminole, Oklahoma lacked electricity or running water.
- Aside from damaging winds and heavy rainfall, intense lightning and flash flooding were also major concerns across Oklahoma on Wednesday.
- As of Friday, there are currently 11 large active wildfires that have burned 295,283 across AZ, CO, FL, and NM. As of Friday, 22,841 wildfires have burned 1,271,189 acres across the country.
- As of Friday, the Tunnel Fire in Arizona has burned 19,075 and is 98% contained.
- As of Friday, the Cooks Peak Fire in New Mexico has burned 59,359 acres and is 97% contained.
- As of Friday, the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire in New Mexico has burned 166,379 acres and is 20% contained.
- Thousands of people told to flee the largest wildfire burning in the U.S. have chosen to stay and defend generational homes in the mountains of northern New Mexico, even as some run out of food and water.
- In Mora County, around 60% of residents in evacuation areas have remained in centuries-old farming and ranching communities where electric power has been lost.
- Many residents can trace lineage to 18th-century Spanish settlers and Native American tribes and have a strong connection to the land.
- The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire has grown into the state’s second-largest wildfire in history.
- An extended stretch of dangerous fire weather will hit New Mexico beginning Saturday and last next week, as high winds, low humidity, and near-record heat combine.
- In New Mexico, the total acres burned so far this year is about equal to the seasonal average, and it is only early May.
- Drought expands in the Southwest, worsening the region’s fire risk and water crisis.
- In California, which is entirely in drought conditions, two of the state’s largest reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville, are at critically low levels.
- This year, the water content in California’s snowpack was just 4% of normal by the end of winter.
- In the Rio Grande Basin, the Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico is roughly 13% full.
- In the Colorado River Basin, Lake Powell was at 24% of capacity, while Lake Mead was at 31%.
- The water level in Lake Mead is so low that it exposed not only one of the reservoir’s original water intake valves for the first time but also human remains in a barrel.
- New Mexico saw the largest increase in the two worst categories of drought, extreme and exceptional, adding more than 14,000 square miles.
- Nearly a quarter of Texas is now in exceptional drought, which is the largest area for the state since 2014.
- Drought conditions will likely worsen further over the coming days as Texas is facing an early-season heatwave that the state’s power provider, ERCOT, warns will strain the region’s power grid.
New Reports And Data
- A May 2022 study found that native species in California’s estuaries are expected to experience greater declines as invasive species interact with climate change.
- A May 2022 study found that climate change is an emerging driver of the declining bird population.
- A May 2022 study found that water scarcity is predicted to worsen in more than 80% of croplands globally by 2050.
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