The climate crisis is going to create all kinds of disasters in the coming decades as greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels, heat up the planet and send the atmosphere into chaos. Those consequences are already plaguing millions of people in the US.
Alerts from the US federal government on daily climate hazards puts millions of people under flood alerts on Monday as ongoing drought still threatens much of the country.
Meanwhile, hurricane season is still kicking after last week’s destructive Hurricane Ian – which has left dozens of people dead in Florida.
More than 31 million Americans are under coastal flood alerts as stormy seas push through the mid-Atlantic. A swath of the Atlantic from Long Island down through North Carolina is under watch, with up to four feet (1.2 metres) of inundation expected in some areas.
Another 13 million people are subject to inland flooding alerts. Storms in New Jersey and Arizona could create local floods – and people along many rivers in Florida face flood risks as those rivers reach high water levels in aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
Hurricane Ian’s clean-up continues in Florida. As of Monday morning, officials had noted more than 80 deaths from the storm, and the search for victims continues.
Drought continues to plague much of the country, especially in the West. More than 120 million Americans are currently living in drought conditions.
This includes parts of California, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Oregon under “exceptional drought,” the most extreme drought level, creating serious challenges for farmers and a very high risk of wildfires.
Parts of the northeast US are also facing dry weather, with some areas along the Massachusetts coast seeing “extreme drought”.
Along part of the northern Puerto Rican coast, residents are under a heat advisory as a combination of heat and humidity could make temperatures feel up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius). Much of the island still remains without power, weeks after Hurricane Fiona devastated the power grid and ripped apart infrastructure.
President Biden is visiting Puerto Rico today in aftermath of the storm.
Finally, there are 309 active wildfires burning across the US, mainly in the West. That includes 72 large fires that have burned through more than 760,000 acres alone — larger than Yosemite National Park.
A UN climate science panel has warned that hazards like drought, heatwaves, floods, wildfires and intense storms are all likely to become more intense in the coming decades as the planet heats up.