Saturday 10 July 2021

Hottest June ever, U.S. braces for new heatwave in the West after more than a billion dead marine animals from the heat: More drought, more record-breaking heatwaves, wildfires and early named storms: Nation hit with more than 30 billion dollar disaster bill in just over six-months.

This large hailstone, being held with two hands, fell from a severe thunderstorm at approximately 7:35 pm CDT on April 28, 2021, near Hondo, Texas. NOAA’s NCEI verified that it's the largest hailstone on record to fall in Texas; it had a diameter of 6.416 inches and weighed 1.26 pounds. This severe weather outbreak across Oklahoma and Texas was one of eight separate billion-dollar disasters that struck the U.S during the first six months of 2021. (Resident submitted photo, courtesy of National Weather Service Forecast Office, San Antonio)

As June 2021 has just been announced as the hottest ever in the U.S. by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Tropical Storm Elsa was announced as the earliest 5th named storm in the Atlantic season ever, (typically the 5th named storm of a season usually arrives at about the end of August) the nation has been hit with a more than 30 billion-dollar disaster bill for 2021 in just over six-months.

This Atlantic hurricane season is already setting records. Last week, Tropical Storm Elsa, which formed on July 1, became the earliest-forming fifth named storm on record over the Atlantic Ocean. On average, the fifth named storm of the season doesn’t typically form until the end of August. The previous record was set last year when Tropical Storm Edouard formed on July 6, 2020.

The nation’s drought intensified: According to the June 29 U.S. Drought Monitor report, a little more than 47% of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, up from nearly 44% at the beginning of June. Drought intensified or expanded across portions of the West, northern and central Plains, Midwest, New England and Hawaii. Drought improved across the Carolinas, Virginia and Puerto Rico.

The wild fire season has also arrived early.

Flames threatening campgrounds and cabins prompted evacuations and closed off a swath of Northern California forest as the state headed into another weekend of dry, scorching weather and the continuing threat of wildfires. Hundreds of firefighters aided by aircraft were fighting the Beckwourth Complex, two blazes sparked by lightning that were carving their way through the eastern edge of the million-acre Plumas National Forest in the northern Sierra Nevada near the Nevada state line. Campgrounds and homes around Frenchman Lake were under evacuation orders Friday and a nearly 518-square-kilometre area of the forest was closed because of the danger, fire information officer Pandora Valle said. After a day and night of explosive growth, the fire covered more than 98 square kilometres at midmorning Friday, causing containment to drop to 11 per cent. The flames were burning through pine, fir and chaparral turned bone-dry by low humidity and high temperatures, while ridgetop winds and afternoon gusts of up to 56 km/h were "really pushing" the flames at times, Valle said. The fire was one of many burning in the north, where several other large blazes destroyed dozens of homes in recent days.

Other states affected
In Oregon, see picture, the size of a wildfire burning near Klamath Falls in the southern part of the state more than doubled overnight, the Statesman Journal reported. Officials said the fire now covers 155 square kilometres as of Friday morning. In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little declared a wildfire emergency in the state Friday and mobilised the Idaho National Guard to help fight fires that had sparked across the state after lightning storms swept across the drought-stricken region.

High temperatures forecasted for Calif.

Meanwhile, forecasters warned that much of California will see dangerously hot weekend weather, with high temperature likely in the Central Valley, mountains, deserts and other inland areas because of strengthening high pressure over the state. Heat warnings did not include major coastal populations. Death Valley could reach a staggering 54 C, the National Weather Service said. California's power grid operator issued a statewide flex alert from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday to avoid disruptions and rolling blackouts. Flex alerts call for consumers to voluntarily conserve electricity by reducing the use of appliances and keeping the thermostat higher during evening hours when solar energy is diminished or no longer available.
Earthwindmap showing incredible temperatures in California this weekend.

According to Reuters, temperatures are expected to soar above 100 degrees F (40 degrees C) in multiple states. "Long standing record high temperature values are likely to be rivalled or broken," the weather service said, warning of the elevated risk of heat-related illnesses. The extended heatwave, which coincides with a record-setting drought, has already killed at least 116 people in Oregon alone, the state medical examiner said. 

Meanwhile more than a billion marine animals may have been killed by the unusual heat last week along the US Canadian border.

British Columbia scientist says heat essentially cooked mussels: ‘The shore doesn’t usually crunch when you walk’ More than 1 billion marine animals along the US and Canada’s Pacific coast are likely to have died from last week’s record heatwave, experts warn, highlighting the vulnerability of ecosystems unaccustomed to extreme temperatures. The “heat dome” that settled over western Canada and the north-western US for five days pushed temperatures in communities along the coast to 40C (104F) – shattering longstanding records and offering little respite for days.

The intense and unrelenting heat is believed to have killed as many as 500 people in the province of British Columbia and contributed to the hundreds of wildfires currently burning across the province. But experts fear it also had a devastating impact on marine life. Christopher Harley, a marine biologist at the University of British Columbia, has calculated that more than a billion marine animals may have been killed by the unusual heat. A walk along a Vancouver-area beach highlighted the magnitude of devastation brought on by the heatwave, he said. “The shore doesn’t usually crunch when you walk on it. But there were so many empty mussel shells lying everywhere that you just couldn’t avoid stepping on dead animals while walking around,” he said. Harley was struck by the smell of rotting mussels, many of which were in effect cooked by the abnormally warm water.

A lot of sea life would have died.” While mussels can regenerate over a period of two years, a number of starfish and clams live for decades, and they reproduce more slowly, so their recovery is probably going to take longer. Harley has also received reports from colleagues of dead sea anemones, rock fish and oysters. Experts have cautioned that the province needs to adapt to the reality that sudden and sustained heatwaves are likely to become more common as a result of climate change. Another heatwave is expected to strike the western United States and south-western Canada in the coming week, highlighting the relentlessness of the dry summer heat. A lot of species are not going to be able to keep up with the pace of change. Ecosystems are going to change in ways that are really difficult to predict. We don’t know where the tipping points are.”


Hawkeye said...

Extreme heatwaves are global, not just the west half of America. One and a half pound hail stones falling from the clouds, severe continuous droughts, hurricanes, fires....geoengineeringwatch dot org.
One cause.

Anonymous said...

The earth is on fire!! Proof at geoengineeringwatch dot org share info! This is no joke this is whats really happening wake up save the planet!!