Climate Impact Report – 8/16

Quick Facts


large wildfires that have burned 2,147,446 acres across CA, CO, ID, MT, NE, NM, NV, SD, UT, WA, and WY.


2021 was the hottest month on Earth in history since record-keeping began in 1880.


customers in 16 counties affected by California Utility Provider PG&E announcing that it could shut off power Tuesday night into Wednesday due to concerns over the dry and windy weather conditions.

Facts Of The Day 8/16

Extreme Heat

  • July 2021 was the hottest month on Earth in history since record-keeping began in 1880.

  • At least one person may have died from heat-related causes in Portland, Oregon last Thursday from the heatwave, although the official cause of death will not be known for several weeks.

  • One Oregon woman who died in the June heat waves that hit the Pacific Northwest died 50 feet from her home after being dropped off by a medical transport service and passing out in the street.

  • The latest forecast for the fall harvest estimates the US wheat crop would total 1.7 billion bushels, representing the smallest harvest since 2002 due to drought.

  • Persistent drought could threaten power supplies in the Western United States.

  • The ongoing drought in California has led to an increase in stressed deer and coyotes foraging for food in places such as Berkeley.

  • Smaller towns in California are increasingly forced to find other ways to have an adequate water supply, such as considering building water storage systems.

  • Drought has affected California’s rice plantings, which were 19% below previous years and the smallest in almost three decades as of June 2021.

  • A decrease in drought in Colorado has meant fewer sightings and interactions with bears this year in the state as the animals can forage for food in the backcountry away from humans.

  • Hmong farmers in Minnesota represent about 50% of the Twin Cities metro farmers markets yet face barriers such as language issues, access to water, and high-quality loans.

  • Hawaii’s environmental problems are exacerbated by ignoring the local ecology and traditional practices.

  • As of Friday, 100% of South Dakota is in a drought.

  • Fire lookout towers for monitoring wildfires used to number thousands in the country have been mostly replaced by technology but remain in use in remote areas.

  • White tops on school buses help regulate the interior temperature, increase bus visibility for safety, and make the ride safer for drivers and children.

  • The combination of red tide and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused uncertainty and concern for the hospitality industry in Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee area.

  • Two new laws prompted by the power grid failure in Texas include changing the board makeup of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees the grid, and requiring the grid be improved to better withstand extreme weather.

  • California’s utility provider PG&E announced that it could shut off power Tuesday night into Wednesday in 16 counties, affecting 39,000 customers due to concerns over the dry and windy weather conditions.

  • Lake Tahoe, California broke a record on Thursday when the high temperature reached 90 degrees.


  • There are currently 97 large wildfires that have burned 2,147,446 acres across CA, CO, ID, MT, NE, NM, NV, SD, UT, WA, and WY.

  • 1 new large fire was reported in California and 1 large fire was reported contained on Sunday.

  • The California DOJ announced on Friday it would drop charges against Southern California Edison regarding the 2018 Woosley Fire, which burned 96,949 acres, destroyed 1,643 structures, required more than 295,000 people to evacuate, and killed 3 people.

  • California Democrats demanded that the Defense Department allow continued access to data from a wildfire monitoring program set to expire in 7 weeks.

  • The roughly 21,000 federal firefighters currently deployed to battle wildfires as of Monday is more than double the number of firefighters at this time last year.

  • One new fire sparked in California on Sunday – the Caldor Fire burned 400 acres and was 0% contained.


  • Tropical Storm Fred is forecast to hit the Florida Panhandle sometime Monday evening, possibly as a strong tropical storm or even a Category 1 hurricane.

    • Effects include minor coastal flooding, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes. Parts of Florida and the Southeastern United States could see excessive rainfall and localized flooding.

    •  As of Monday morning, Fred was located 90 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 60 MPH.

    • The Florida Peninsula could see 2-4 inches of rain on the western coasts.

    • As Fred approaches the Florida Panhandle, the region could see wind gusts of 40-60 MPH, and parts of southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia could see tropical-storm-force winds, although Fred is expected to weaken significantly as it moves inland.

    • The areas east of Pensacola, Florida could see a 1 to 3 feet storm surge and the shores of Apalachee Bay could see the water rise 3 to 6 feet.

    • As the week progresses, Fred is forecast to move across Alabama, before it turns northeastward through the Tennessee Valley and the southern Appalachians.

      • The Mississippi-Alabama border and southern Georgia northward into West Virginia and central Virginia could see 1 to 2 inches of rain.

  • Tropical Storm Grace threatened to dump up to 15 inches of rain on Haiti on Monday, which also just experienced a 7.2 earthquake over the weekend.

    • As of Monday morning, Grace was located 160 miles east-southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and moving at about 15 MPH west.

    • Haiti and the Dominican Republic could experience flash floods and mudslides and rainfall up to 10 inches from Grace.

    • Grace’s winds were expected to be 35 MPH until it reaches Jamaica on Tuesday.

  • Hurricane Linda weakened to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 95-110 MPH on Monday morning.

    • On Saturday, Linda had been centered about 500 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and was expected to move out to sea.

    • Linda is expected to remain a hurricane through Tuesday night or Wednesday and then deteriorate into a tropical storm.

    • Linda is not expected to have any direct impacts on Mexico, although rough surf and rip currents are expected through the weekend.

Climate Studies

  • An August 2021 study found wildfire smoke may have contributed to thousands of extra coronavirus cases and deaths in the Western United States between March and December 2020.

  • An August 2021 study found warming temperatures could cause a loss of carbon dioxide from thawing permafrost and accelerate plant respiration but could also cause plants to become fixated on the carbon dioxide and offset the losses.

  • An August 2021 study found that crop insurance can disincentivize farmers to adopt mitigation strategies for climate change on their land.


Wanna know more? Sign up for regular updates on extreme weather impacts and how you can fight for bold climate action.