It’s been an unusual summer filled with all the signs of the climate crisis: deadly heatwaves, floods, and wildfires. With a good chunk of summer still ahead of us, some may wonder if this extreme weather will persist into August — scientists and government officials say yes.
Kate Brown, the governor of Oregon, told the New York Times that she anticipates more fires to occur in Oregon. “No corner of our state is immune,” Ms Brown said, because of “the urgent and dangerous climate crisis”.
The after-effects of expected wildfires will continue to interfere with people’s day-to-day lives, too. The smoke from wildfires out west polluted air quality in the midwest and east coast.
The air quality index reached around 160 in New York City, which can worsen asthma or bronchitis symptoms. With wildfires expected to occur in August, dangerous air conditions caused by smoke will follow.
Droughts are a contributing factor to wildfires, according to Wildfire Management, and meteorologists say droughts in the west and south, north, and midwest will last throughout the summer and into October. Even if those areas have heavy rainfall during the winter, it won’t help with the decades of drought those areas have had.
“It’s a very large deficit that these states have to make up to get back to normal — if you want to call it that,” David Lawrence, a meteorologist told the Times.
Like wildfires and droughts, more than half of the country will have above-average temperatures in the remainder of the summer. In the next six to 10 days, more than half the country will have above-average temperatures, according to the National Weather Service. In particular, the DC and Atlanta areas are predicted to have above 90F temperature this week.
All the weather and drought predictions are part of larger trends that have occurred over the summer.
A total of 21 Western cities in the US experienced record-setting temperatures in July. And in June, the pacific northwest temperature shot up to 110F. The recording-breaking temperatures in that area caused 71 heat-related deaths.
These hot temperatures aren’t limited to the US. In Canada’s British Columbia region, temperatures soared to 121F, shocking experts and government officials.
Heatwaves have got so bad, experts say we’ve reached new territory with ever-increasing temperatures and can’t look at past data to predict future temperatures.
“The past is no longer a reliable guide for the future. These events are becoming more frequent and intense, a trend projected to continue,” the Oregon Climate Office tweeted.
Similar to the recording-setting temperature trend, there’s been a “mega-drought” in the southwest for decades, and as a result, this month the federal government will officially declare a water shortage in the Colorado River.
This declaration will enact water cuts in 2022, which may impact farmers and ranchers, as it will lessen their water supply for crops and livestock.
“That area is perhaps the poster child for how bad the impacts of the drought are going to be,” Wade Noble, general counsel for four irrigation districts in Yuma County, Arizona, told Politico.
While this area has been undergoing a drought because of the climate crisis, the states around the Colorado river — Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico — have also had a population boom. Around 7.4 million people have moved to drought areas since 2010, according to the Economic Innovation Group.
This cut of water supply may also impact the millions of people who have moved to the surrounding areas.
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