Climate Impact Report – 12/14

Quick Facts

this weekend

was the deadliest 24-hour period in December for tornadoes in the United States

at least 64

people were killed in Kentucky alone from tornadoes


customers remained without electricity late Monday after a strong storm in Michigan

Key Facts Of The Day 12/14

Storms and Flooding

  • This weekend was the deadliest 24-hour period in December for tornadoes in the United States.

    • Though the death toll is still being determined, at least 64 people were killed in Kentucky alone.

    • One storm cell that was tracked on radar for around four hours, through parts of four states and for more than 250 miles, could end up being the longest continuous tornado in history.

  • On Monday state officials warned that residents of Kentucky counties where tornadoes killed several dozen people could be without heat, water or electricity in frigid temperatures for weeks or longer.

    • Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett warned that full recovery in the hardest-hit places could take years.

  • Madison, Tennessee school closed after suffering damages from devastating storms.

  • Nine East Tennessee Red Cross volunteers help areas impacted by storms.

  • About 16,000 customers remained without electricity late Monday after a strong storm brought high winds across Michigan last weekend.

    • At the peak Saturday, Detroit Edison (DTE) reported about 160,000 customers in the dark and Consumers Energy more than 150,000.

    • Heavy rain and extreme winds caused severe damage to DTE’s infrastructure including more than 1,500 downed wires, broken poles and tree-related damage.

  • An atmospheric river has increased in strength and is bringing flooding and power outages to the Bay Area of California.

    • A massive tree fell onto a home in Felton overnight.

    • Monterey County has issued evacuation orders in areas near the River fire burn scar in Salinas.

    • Santa Cruz county has issued an evacuation warning for parts of the CZU Burn Scar, Felton Grove and Paradise Park.

    • The weather service warned excessive runoff due to heavy rainfall may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams and other low-lying and flood-prone locations.

  • Major storm system hit the Central Coast of California on Monday and is expected to last through Tuesday evening.

    • There are high wind watches in the Santa Barbara County mountains and San Luis Obispo County Mountains with wind speeds from 25-35 mph and gusting up to 60 mph.

    • The Ventura county and LA county mountains will see up to 3 ft. of snow.

    • Flash flood watches include the Alisal Fire burn scar area and portions of the South Coast and Santa Barbara Mountains.

  • A recent report by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas indicates electricity demand could outstrip generation capacity even under what it called “low-probability” extreme scenarios that aren’t as dire as the circumstances in February.


  • As of Dec. 3, there are currently 13 large active wildfires that have burned 105,279 acres across AK, CA, KY, MT, NC, OK, and WV. As of Dec. 3, 54,350 wildfires have burned 6,802,729 acres across the country.

  • Two companies are developing workhorse drones able to transport gallons and gallons of water by air to help fight wildfires.

  • The storms hitting California this week are expected to bring an end to a wildfire season that shocked fire crews with its unprecedented, climate-change-driven behavior.

    • For the first time ever, wildfires burned from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other, destroying multiple towns including the Gold Rush-era community of Greenville and the mountain hamlet of Grizzly Flats.

    • Santa Ana wind events, which have driven some of the most damaging fires in Southern California, appear likely to occur at a below-normal frequency this winter.

  • The Texas A&M Forest Service is expecting the arrival of two large air tankers on Tuesday that it says will provide an extra level of protection against upcoming potential wildfire danger in West Texas and the Panhandle.

Extreme Heat

  • The cities of Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Trenton, Wilmington, and Georgetown in Pennsylvania broke high temperature records for Dec. 11 with climate change being the likely contributor.

    • Philadelphia’s average winter temperature rose nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970.

    • The average winter temperature in Pittsburgh rose nearly 4 degrees, and in Harrisburg, nearly 3 degrees.

  • The southern half of the U.S. has been unusually warm over the past week in part due to La Niña, which brings more warm air north from the Gulf of Mexico.

  • The National Weather Service (NWS) released projections that states in the Southeast will experience above normal temperatures from Dec. 18 through Dec. 22.

    • That heat wave will expand quickly, with predictions for Dec. 20 through Dec. 26 indicating at least 20 states will have above normal temperatures for that time period.

    • The most extreme ends of the heat wave will concentrate in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, with a 70 to 80 percent chance of above normal temperatures.

    • Human-induced climate change plays a role, with activities that emit greenhouse gases causing the atmosphere to warm.

  • Phoenix was always scorching, but climate change has made it even hotter, with temperatures in early September still climbing to 111 degrees.

    • The people most vulnerable to the heat are often in poor and racially diverse communities where many households lack the means to cope with heat waves that are becoming more frequent, widespread and severe.

New Reports And Data

  • A December 2021 study found that a crucial Antarctic ice shelf could shatter within five years and could result in several feet of sea level rise.

  • A December 2021 study found that seagrass suffers from a climate-driven wasting disease and deteriorating its roots systems in the Pacific Northwest.

  • A December 2021 study found that the supply of farmed seafood such as salmon and mussels are projected to drop 16 per cent globally by 2090 if no action is taken to mitigate climate change.


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