More Extreme Weather Makes Life Harder for Millions of Americans This Week

The extreme weather events this summer keep piling up.  On top of a record (so far) hurricane season, and super hot June and July temperatures, more weather disasters are making millions of Americans miserable.  Phoenix set a record for the most number of days over 110 degrees in a year with 35 — so far as of yesterday — with a long way to go before things cool off there, and low temps overnight not dipping below 90 degrees.  High temps are expected to reach 116 degrees there later this week.  Plus a derecho, which is akin to an inland hurricane, swept 700 miles across the midwest Monday, with associated winds clocked at 100 miles an hour in its path.  Millions of people were left without power as a result, and Chicago was particularly hard hit.

Why This Matters:  President Trump is trying to remove $50 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay for needed unemployment benefits he unilaterally ordered. But tens of thousands of people in the midwest will be without power for days in the midst of the peak summer heat and coronavirus pandemic.  Given the increased number of hurricanes predicted (a new storm is forming in the Atlantic), it seems like a particularly bad time to raid FEMA’s emergency funds.

The Derecho’s Damage

CNN reported that the severe thunderstorms and 100 mph winds “slammed” downtown Chicago and the suburbs on Monday, leaving downing trees and power lines, which sparked fires in the city, in its wake, according to city officials.  One-third of all Iowans were without power as a result of the storm — more than a million homes lost power.  The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center called it a “particularly dangerous situation” or “PDS” — which is extremely rare, CNN said.

Phoenix’s Very Long Hot Summer

The prior 110 degree days record in Phoenix was set in 2011 at 33 – but the record will be shattered after this week with several more 110+ degree days forecastArizona Central characterized it as “a record nobody really wants” — indeed, meteorologist Chris Breckenridge told them “Most likely it’ll be over 40 days and counting by this time or earlier next week, and who knows when it’s going to end.”   Another meteorologist in Phoenix, Matthew Hirsch, said,

“July of this year was actually the hottest month of all time….The main reason it’s been so hot is because it’s been so dry; normally when you get moisture it keeps things a little bit cooler but the pattern has been really persistent in such a way that we really haven’t been able to import much moisture into the area so we’ve had this persistent dryness and then heat comes along with that.”

The New Tropical Depression reports that “Tropical Depression Eleven has formed in the open Atlantic Ocean and could strengthen into Tropical Storm Josephine, however, this system might be short-lived.”   Apparently, “increasing wind shear and/or dry air should make conditions less favorable for intensification and weakening is anticipated,” they said.

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