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 put millions of people under flood alerts on Thursday, as ongoing drought still threatens much of the country.
Meanwhile, hurricane season is still going even after last week’s destructive Hurricane Ian, which left at least 120 people dead in Florida.
More than nine million Americans are under inland flooding alerts across the country.
Some rivers in central Florida remain at high water levels, and while not much rain is forecast for the next few days, the overwhelming amount of water dumped by Hurricane Ian is still trickling through the water system. Parts of southern Arizona are also under flood alerts as storms roll through.
Parts of southwest Florida are still rebuilding from Ian, one of the strongest storms to make landfall in state history. Nearly 200,000 customers in Florida are still without power, according to poweroutage.us.
In addition, while some school districts that closed for the storm reopened this week, some of the hardest-hit counties could have schools closed for weeks as communities assess the need to rebuild.
A new storm system in the Atlantic is on track to form a hurricane as it heads to Nicaragua this weekend. If it reaches tropical storm status, it would likely be named “Julia.”
Seven million people in the US also live in areas with coastal flood risk on Thursday. Parts of northeast Florida, as well as areas along the South Carolina and North Carolina seashores, could expect to see some flooding at high tides.
Drought continues to plague much of the country, especially in the West. More than 126 million Americans – more than one-third of the country’s population – 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 facing dry weather as well, with some areas along the Massachusetts coast under “extreme drought”.
Finally, there are 316 active wildfires burning across the US, mainly in the West. That includes 76 large fires that have burned through more than 787,000 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.