CLIMATE GLIMPSE: Heat and a hurricane descend on the U.S., other wild weather around the world

As Hurricane Beryl batters Texas and extreme heat blankets much of the U.S. South and West, the world is set for another week of wild weather that human-caused climate change makes more likely.

Beryl made landfall around the middle the Texas coast near Matagorda with a dangerous storm surge and strong winds in the early hours of Monday. The powerful storm previously devastated parts of Mexico and the Caribbean.

It's the earliest a storm has ever reached the wind speeds of a Category 5 hurricane, fueled by the ocean being as warm in June as it typically would be in September after months of summer sun.

Beryl is just one example of extremes that are fueled by climate change. Here’s what’s happening related to extreme weather and the climate right now:

— A persistent heat wave is lingering into Monday in parts of the U.S. with an excessive heat warning — the National Weather Service’s highest alert — in effect for about 36 million people, or about 10% of the population. Several heat records have already been shattered by this latest heat wave, with several parts of Northern California hitting 110 Fahrenheit (43.3 Celsius).

— That heat is part of a global trend of hotter weather: June marks the 13th straight month to shatter a monthly heat record, according to Europe's Copernicus climate service. That streak might end soon, but not the chaos that comes with a warmer planet, scientists say.

— The hot weather doesn't affect everyone equally. A New York City mortality report found Black residents die from heat stress at double the rate of white residents. The Associated Press took a deep dive into how heat exacerbates other socioeconomic inequalities in cities.

— Elsewhere, landslides on Indonesia's Sulawesi island following torrential rain have killed at least 11 people and left dozens missing at an illegal gold mining operation. Rain has been pounding the region since Saturday.

— Monsoon rains in India are continuing to cause havoc across the country, reaching the western city of Mumbai. Last week, over a dozen people died in landslides and flooding in northeastern Assam state.

— South Africa is bracing for a week of damaging storms, with weather authorities warning that Cape Town and surrounding areas are expected to be hit by multiple cold fronts until at least Friday, bringing torrential rain, strong winds and flooding. The worst-hit areas are expected to be the poor, informal settlements on the edge of the city.

— And finally, if you've seen some unfamiliar weather terms in the news lately, or if you are wondering why some storms are classed as hurricanes, typhoons or tropical storms, check out this glossary of extreme weather terms.


QUOTABLE: "When you step out of your vehicle, it’s like stepping your entire body out into an oven.” — Matthew Lamar, Park Ranger at Death Valley National Park, where temperatures reached 128 Fahrenheit (53.3 Celsius) on Saturday and Sunday.


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07/08/2024 12:46 -0400

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