Extreme weather

The big picture

Heat dome roasts Northwest, Central states as "derecho" threat looms in Midwest

The heat is expansive and downright dangerous to public health.

Jul 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment
Heat wave grips U.S. this week from coast to coast

It's been hotter in parts of Montana than it has in Dallas, Texas, in recent weeks.

Updated Jul 27, 2021 - Energy & Environment
Drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Lake Powell and the Great Salt Lake are both at their lowest capacity on record.

Jul 27, 2021 - Energy & Environment
Next heat dome to build across Lower 48, aggravating drought, fires

The next heat event will be long-lived and expansive, though some will escape the worst of it.

Jul 23, 2021 - Energy & Environment
At least 33 dead, 8 missing from central China flooding

Floods have displaced hundreds of thousands of people across Henan province.

Jul 22, 2021 - World
Massive California wildfire crosses into Nevada

The Tamarack Fire south of Lake Tahoe had razed over 68 square miles since erupting on July 4.

Jul 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

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Jul 30, 2021 - Axios Tampa Bay

National Weather Service to get more specific on severe thunderstorm warnings

A man rides a bike down the Bayshore Boulevard sidewalk as a storm rolls in. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Starting next week, the National Weather Service will begin using more specific lingo to alert residents to the severity and potential impacts from thunderstorms — similar to tornado and flash-flood warnings.

Why it matters: 13 of the 22 billion-dollar weather and climate events in the U.S. last year were severe thunderstorms.

What to expect:

  • Destructive: Baseball-sized hail and/or 80mph winds; will activate cell-phone alerts.
  • Considerable: Golf-ball-sized hail and/or 70mph winds; no cell-phone alert.
  • Baseline: Quarter-sized hail and/or 50mph winds; no threat tag means the storm is expected to be at or below base level.

Heat dome sends temperatures soaring from Oregon to Louisiana

Forecast maximum temperatures (darker red shading represents the hottest temperatures, in the upper 90s to low 100s, Fahrenheit). July 29. Image: WeatherBell

The Pacific Northwest is once again in the midst of a heat wave after already seeing its worst such event on record this summer. Temperatures are soaring into the low 100s in some areas, while dangerous heat is also affecting the South Central states and Gulf Coast.

Why it matters: The occurrence of yet another heat wave during a drought in the West is ratcheting up wildfire risks. The heat itself is a major public health risk, as extreme heat is typically the biggest annual weather-related cause of mortality in the U.S.

How Tampa Bay's red tide could make Disney World the smelliest place on earth

Data: Pinellas County; Animation: Will Chase/Axios

We’re certainly not trying to minimize the disaster of Pinellas County’s red tide fish kill, but we really want you to understand just how much 1,600 tons of dead fish is — and how its scale affects our local environment.

  • We already showed you how the pile would stack up next to Tampa’s Beer Can Building, and now we've visualized how it would turn Disney’s Magic Kingdom from the happiest to the smelliest place on earth.

Of note: This isn’t even all of it. Since our last update, the amount of dead fish recovered has increased to 1,687 tons, according to the county.

Updated Jul 29, 2021 - Science

Midwest under threat from hurricane-force winds in severe storm system

Photo: NOAA

Organizers in Wisconsin postponed the biggest air show in the U.S. as a severe storm system threatened the Midwest with potentially hurricane-force winds, tornados, hail and thunderstorms overnight.

Threat level: More than 5.9 million people could be affected by the storm system — which saw the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, postpone events due to be held Wednesday until the following evening amid the threat of 90 mph winds.

One way to visualize Tampa Bay's 1,624 tons of dead fish

Chart: Will Chase/Axios

We are now at 1,624 tons of dead fish that have been pulled from the waters surrounding Pinellas County.

  • It’s hard to think about how big that is, but we tried out best to show you with a little local flair.
  • Pile 'em all up and they'd go a decent way up the Beer Can Building in downtown Tampa. (We'll leave you to imagine the smell.)

Some scale: The heaviest blue whale on record weighed 200 tons. This is more than eight times that.

Study: Get ready for many more record-shattering heatwaves

NASA computer model image of temperature departures from average on June 27 during the Pacific Northwest heat wave. (NASA Earth Observatory)

The recent deadly heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, during which all-time temperature records were shattered by several degrees, is a prologue to what is coming across much of the U.S., Europe and Asia, a new study finds.

Why it matters: The study shows that the rate of climate change is an under-appreciated driver of extreme heat, and that today's quickening pace of warming virtually guarantees more extreme temperature records in coming decades.

California's largest wildfire razes homes as 86 huge blazes burn in West

A burnt Corvette smolders at a property during the Dixie Fire in the Indian Falls area of unincorporated Plumas County on July 25. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

California's biggest wildfire merged with another blaze as it razed homes in a remote region in the state's north Sunday.

The big picture: The Dixie Fire, which erupted July 14 near the origin of the deadly 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, is one of 86 large wildfires burning across the U.S. West.

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