Climate Impact Report – 12/09

Quick Facts


days and more have passed without snow in Denver, Colorado


fines for water wasters is considered as drought worsens in California


large active wildfires that have burned 105,279 acres across AK, CA, KY, MT, NC, OK, and WV

Key Facts Of The Day 12/9

Storms and Flooding

  • The Kona storm, which drenched the Hawaiian Islands between Saturday and Tuesday, was finally pulling away Wednesday morning, after producing record-setting rains, flooding and mudslides, mountain snow and historically cool temperatures.

    • The state of emergency will remain in effect through Friday during cleanup efforts.

    • Honolulu had its wettest December day on record and second-wettest day observed in any month.

    • Several people trapped in floodwaters required rescue in Honolulu, and firefighters responded to 90 storm-related calls.

    • The Iwilei power substation had flood damage which cut electrical service to Downtown Honolulu businesses and residents, and thousands of customers also lost power on the Big Island and Maui.

    • In the Maui Meadows subdivision, severe flooding damaged homes and washed away several vehicles.

  • Record high temperatures have left mountain resorts across Colorado reliant on artificial snow.

    • In Denver, more than 230 days have passed without snow, the city’s second-longest such stretch in more than a century.

    • This year is shaping up to be among the five hottest years in Colorado history.

    • The snow that falls in the mountains in Colorado is the biggest natural reservoir of water that ends up running downstream to many other states.

  • A storm system is going to go into a rapid strengthening stage right over Michigan Saturday and will come very close to officially becoming labeled a Bomb Cyclone.

  • While forecasts predict a mild winter in New England, the electricity grid could be in a precarious position.

    • Natural gas pipeline constraints, a lower-than-normal supply of oil and liquid natural gas and the possibility of prolonged cold snaps could strain the grid.

    • Emergency actions including importing power from neighboring regions, calling on residents and businesses to conserve energy, and employing rolling blackouts as a last resort, may be necessary if extreme weather does occur and fuel supplies aren’t replenished.

    • ISO-New England emphasized that the region needs to redouble its efforts to gain access to imported hydro and a plan to transition out of gas.


  • As of Friday, there are currently 13 large active wildfires that have burned 105,279 acres across AK, CA, KY, MT, NC, OK, and WV. As of Friday, 54,350 wildfires have burned 6,802,729 acres across the country.

    • As of Friday, the KNP Complex fire burned 88,307 acres and was 80% contained.

  • A father and son have been arrested on suspicion of starting the massive California Caldor wildfire that forced tens of thousands to flee the Lake Tahoe area earlier this year.

    • They were accused of reckless arson in a warrant issued before formal charges are filed.

    • It was one of two massive fires last summer that for the first time in modern history crossed the Sierra Nevada range.

  • Wildfire evacuations highlighted the vulnerability of incarcerated people, who must rely on prison officials to keep them safe.

    • More than 20 inmates were attacked in Oregon after authorities merged prison populations.

    • Many prisons along the west coast are located near wildfire danger zones, putting at risk incarcerated Americans, who are disproportionately Black and Latinx.

    • In California, 24 prisons housing more than 65,000 people sit within five miles of fire hazard zones.

    • Many prisons built decades ago do not have ventilation systems designed for intensifying wildfires and heat.

  • Wildfire smoke may ramp up toxic ozone production in cities.

Extreme Heat

  • California considers $500 fines for water wasters as drought worsens and conservation lags.

  • On Tuesday, Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir and a lifeline for water in Los Angeles and the West, was at 1,065 feet, or about 34% of its capacity.

  • Oregon’s summer extreme heat wave decimated scores of Christmas trees, with many older trees suffering sunburn and many seedlings killed.

  • The High Plains region in Texas is in the midst of one of the driest periods in recent history, making the wildfire risk for the area extremely high.

    • The Community Liaison of Amarillo Fire Department tells residents to have a go bag ready with essential items and a plan of evacuation.

  • The Concho Valley in Texas is in the beginning stages of drought impacting local agriculture.

    • Small grains and winter wheat are being planted now and moisture is essential for these crops to grow.

  • New Mexico’s top water official has outlined a plan for dealing with future shortages on the Pecos River in southeastern New Mexico.

    • Water managers have been augmenting supplies in the region over the years by pumping groundwater, however, officials are warning that pumping might not be enough in future years given the persistent drought.

New Reports And Data

  • A December 2021 study found that exposure to toxic metals may increase risk of clogged arteries.

  • A December 2021 study found that long-term exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of pesticides has harmful effects on shellfish.

  • A December 2021 study found that people who do vigorous physical activities, like jogging or playing competitive sports, in areas with higher air pollution may show less benefit from that exercise.


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