Extreme Weather Summer Scorecard – How Did You Fare?

Extreme Weather Summer Scorecard – How Did You Fare?

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Remember when summertime meant residing was simple? Summer was the season of backyard barbecues, journeys to the beach, and vegetable gardens filled with contemporary produce. Those issues aren’t gone, however nowadays summer time appears extra more likely to be about coping with heat waves, Category 5 hurricanes, and wildfires.

It’s not simply your creativeness that issues are getting worse. The Union of Concerned Scientists’ Danger Season Tracker reported that this summer time, 96% of Americans lived by a minimum of one excessive climate alert from the National Weather Service. Only a handful of counties within the United States went all summer time with out receiving a warning.

How did your county fare this yr?

Danger Season Report

If you’re one of many practically 855,000 individuals who dwell in San Francisco County, Alaska’s Aleutians East Borough, Aleutians West Census Area, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, or Norton City, Virginia, congratulations on a pleasing summer time. Even although San Francisco has been rated essentially the most climate-vulnerable metropolis within the nation, they’d no excessive warmth, flood, hearth, or storm warnings between May 1 and August 29 in 2023.

But in case you dwell in any of the United States’ remaining 3,224 counties and territories, you’re among the many 96% of Americans who confronted a minimum of one excessive climate warning this summer time. The two counties with essentially the most warnings had been in Arizona – Coconino County with 146 alerts and Mojave County with 145. Together they confronted warmth waves, floods, and wildfires. Although these warnings embrace wildfire hazard, they don’t embrace related air high quality warnings ensuing from wildfire smoke. In June alone, as much as one third of Americans skilled hazardous air high quality from wildfires. If air high quality advisories had been included in UCS report, San Francisco would have been eradicated from the listing of climate winners. Wildfire smoke resulted in hazardous air quality in San Francisco through the summer time. That would have left only 39,500 Americans whose summer time was by no means impacted by excessive climate in 2023.

The Danger Season Tracker is up to date day by day and doesn’t present historic knowledge. But you’ll find your county’s excessive climate summer time rating utilizing Heatmap’s interactive graphic.

A visualization of the frequency of maximum warmth alerts through the summer time of 2023, by U.S. county. Source: Data compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists

Extended Risks

Climate change is making summer time start earlier and last more. First and final frost dates have been shifting, and one study predicts that by 2100, summer time climate might final for six months whereas winter may have shrunk to solely two. Wildfire season within the Western states is already two months longer than it was within the Seventies.

Weather disasters are additionally getting larger. Since 1980, the typical variety of billion-dollar disasters after adjusting for inflation had been 8.1 per yr, however through the previous 5 years the typical greater than doubled to 18. By mid-September 2023, the nation eclipsed the file for the best variety of billion-dollar natural disasters in a single yr.

The improve is alarming. At summer time’s finish, 24 billion-dollar disasters had struck ther U.S., together with a drought, floods, 20 extreme storms – together with each a tropical cyclone and a winter storm – and one wildfire that brought about a billion {dollars} in damages. These disasters took the lives of 373 folks. Two occasions, Tropical Storm Hilary and hailstorms in Texas, had occurred too not too long ago for complete price calculations however had been more likely to be added to the listing.

What to Do

Scientists used to say that particular person climate occasions couldn’t be straight attributed to local weather change. But that’s now not true. A examine indicated that the temperatures reached throughout Portland’s 2021 warmth dome had been just about impossible to account for with out anthropogenic local weather change. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that local weather change was a consider 18 billion-dollar disasters in 2022. The most essential issues that any of us can do to forestall weather-related disasters are to shrink our carbon footprint and advocate for meaningful federal climate legislation.

But we will and must also work to forestall injury from local weather change-induced disasters. Adapting to climate change means studying in regards to the dangers particular to your area and dealing to create community climate resilience.

When you’re shifting, think about the local weather dangers – reminiscent of sea level rise, inland flooding and drought – in your new group. Homebuyers must also think about a house’s present source of electricity or suitability for solar energy and search for disaster-resilient construction.

No matter the place you reside, make your home more climate resilient and be prepared for a pure catastrophe. Now greater than ever, no place is secure.