NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL
Climate Change Hits Home with Another Round of Extreme Weather Events in 2013
Posted February 7, 2014 in Solving Global Warming
- Record-breaking rains drenched communities along Colorado’s Front Range in September, killing 10 people, swamping roughly 18,000 homes, and costing an estimated $2 billion in damages.
- Iowa experienced its wettest spring on record, receiving nearly twice its average precipitation and preventing farmers from planting over 800,000 saturated acres. Then Iowa quickly shifted into one of its hottest summers ever and had one-third of the state in “severe” drought by August.
- Several cities across the nation had their hottest July on record, including Hartford, Salt Lake City, and Reno. More than 600 daily temperature records were broken during one July hit wave, and officials warned that hot temperatures in New England were making air pollution worse and increasing risks of asthma, respiratory disease, and heat attacks.
- By July, New Mexico was locked in the third year of one of its toughest droughts, and experts called 2013 “the worst year ever” for managing water along the Rio Grande. The state’s Elephant Butte reservoir—supplying about 50 percent of drinking water for El Paso—dropped to just 3 percent capacity in July.
- An early October blizzard dumped more than 2 feet of snow in South Dakota, shattering Rapid City’s snowfall records and killing 20,000 cattle—20 percent of the state’s cattle.
- Snowpack received by April 1st is a critical measure of water supply for Western states, yet by spring, areas in California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico had snowpack totaling less than 25 percent of normal.