Climate Impact Report – 3/16

Quick Facts

Drought+Storm

Mandatory water restrictions are being lifted for nearly 7 million people across Southern California following winter storms.

11th Storm

California’s 11th atmospheric river brought flooded roadways, landslides, and toppled trees to the southern part of the state.

Evacuations

In Sedona, Arizona, officials urged people in a dozen areas to immediately evacuate Wednesday evening because of predicted flooding of Oak Creek.

Key Facts Of The Day 3/16

Storms and Flooding

  • California’s 11th atmospheric river brought flooded roadways, landslides, and toppled trees to the southern part of the state.
    • In the Tulare County city of Porterville, residents on both sides of the Tule River were ordered to evacuate Wednesday morning as levels rose at Lake Success, sending water running over the spillway at Schafer Dam.
    • Classes were canceled at more than a dozen schools in Cupertino.
    • In San Clemente, four apartment buildings were evacuated after mud, rocks, and debris tumbled down a hillside behind the buildings.
    • In the Los Angeles area, a debris flow in Baldwin Hills trapped several cars overnight.
    • In the San Bernardino Mountains, heavy rain melted dense snowpack and sent torrents of water rushing down streets.
    • A levee breach on the Pajaro River late Friday sent floodwaters rushing into the migrant town of about 3,000 people, prompting widespread evacuations and cutting off potable water to the area.
      • Officials knew for decades that the levee was vulnerable to failure but never prioritized repairs because they believed it did not make financial sense to protect the low-income area.
    • In Southern California, flooding also closed several miles of the Pacific Coast Highway through Huntington Beach, south of Los Angeles on the Orange County coast.
    • Potholes disabled more than 30 cars on one Southern California freeway.
    • Though the rains have mostly stopped, additional river rises are expected due to runoff.
  • In Sedona, Arizona, officials urged people in a dozen areas to evacuate immediately Wednesday evening because of the predicted flooding of Oak Creek.
  • A nor’easter brought up to three feet of snow to some areas of New England.
    • As many as 22,000 homes remain without power in New Hampshire as of Thursday morning.
    • Vermont has over 10,000 customers without power.
    • In Massachusetts, the Princeton Fire Department rescued two young skiers who got lost on Wachusett Mountain during the nor’easter.

Wildfire

  • As of March 10, 4  large active wildfires have burned 4,178 acres across the country.
  • As of March 10, 5,431 wildfires have burned 73,072 acres across the country.
  • In Florida, 2 fires have burned 3,362 acres as of March 10.
  • In North Carolina, 1 fire has burned 316 acres as of March 10.

Extreme Heat

  • Mandatory water restrictions are being lifted for nearly 7 million people across Southern California following winter storms.
    • Citing improvements in available supplies, the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California decided to end an emergency conservation mandate for agencies in Los Angeles, Ventura, and San Bernardino counties that rely on water from the State Water Project.
    • The recent storms in California boosted reservoirs and eased the severe water shortage that emerged during the state’s driest three-year period on record.
    • However, officials urged residents and businesses to continue conserving and to prepare for expected cuts in supplies from the Colorado River.

New Reports and Data

  • A March 2023 study found that deforestation and forests lost or damaged due to human and environmental change are outpacing rates of forest regrowth.
  • A March 2023 study found that seabirds on an Australian island ingest enough plastic to develop harmful digestive complications.
  • A March 2023 study found that high levels of ozone destroy the chemical mating signal of flies and may contribute to the global fly decline.

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