All Extreme weather stories

Updated Jul 21, 2021 - World

At least 12 dead and 100,000 evacuated amid severe flooding in China

People walking down a flooded road in Zhengzhou, China, on July 20. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Torrential rain caused severe flooding in parts of China's Henan province on Tuesday, killing 12 and forcing more than 100,000 people to evacuate their homes, per Reuters.

The latest: Zhengzhou, Henan's capital, picked up 21.75 inches of rain over the 24-hour period ending on Tuesday. That's roughly 87% of the city's average annual precipitation in 24 hours, and about the same as its average seven-month total from April to October, according to the Weather Channel.

Wildfires mushroom in West amid heat, drought, prompting evacuations

Pyrocumulonimbus cloud towers over the Dixie Fire on Monday afternoon, seen via a California wildfire camera. (PG&E wildfire camera.)

Wildfires across the West dramatically increased in size from Monday through Tuesday, with 83 large blazes now burning in the U.S. and about 300 to the north in British Columbia.

Why it matters: The western wildfire season has kicked into high gear about two months early, as climate change-related drought and heat waves have dried out vegetation to levels not typically seen prior to late summer. About 20,000 firefighters are already deployed to blazes.

Resources pushed to limit as wildfires burn across U.S. and Canada

A helicopter flies with a load of water to the Bootleg Fire, near Bly, Oregon. Photo: Payton Bruni/AFP via Getty Images

Fire officials are seeing resources stretched to the limit as scores of wildfires burn across the U.S. and Canada amid hot, dry conditions.

Threat level: In Oregon, officials have called in firefighting support from outside the Pacific Northwest — as the biggest blaze in the U.S., the Bootleg Fire, swelled to 537 square miles Monday.

Updated Jul 20, 2021 - Science

FEMA chief heads West as large wildfires rage, heat wave peaks

Fire engulfs trees at the Tamarack fire in Central California on Saturday. Photo: Ty O'Neil/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell will make her first trip to wildfire-affected states amid another dangerous week of extreme heat and "critical" fire weather conditions, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The West is experiencing its worst drought this century, and repeated, extreme heat waves have dried out forests and grasslands, priming them to burn. Officials are gearing up for an unprecedented, prolonged peak fire season.

U.K. issues first ever extreme heat warning

People on Bournemouth beach in Dorset, southwest England, on Monday. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Met Office issued its first ever "Extreme Heat Warning" on Monday, after all four U.K. nations recorded their hottest day so far this year over the weekend.

Driving the news: "The impacts from extreme heat are increasing across the U.K. due to climate change," per a June Met Office statement announcing its new amber and red warning system to inform the public of potential widespread disruption and adverse health effects.

In summer of apocalyptic weather, concerns emerge over climate science blind spot

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The rapid succession of precedent-shattering extreme weather events in North America and Europe this summer is prompting some scientists to question whether climate extremes are worsening faster than expected.

Why it matters: Extreme weather events are the deadliest, most expensive and immediate manifestations of climate change. Any miscalculations in how severe these events may become, from wildfires to heat waves and heavy rainfall, could make communities more vulnerable.

80 large wildfires rage across the West

Firefighters are seen working to protect the town of Markleeville from the Tamarack Fire in California on Saturday. Photo: Ty O'Neil/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wildfires are growing across the western U.S., triggering evacuation orders, as the threat of "dry lightning" prompted red flag warnings and fire weather watches to be issued from central California to northwest South Dakota on Monday.

Of note: As temperatures again rise, 80 large wildfires were burning across nearly 1.2 million acres in the West Sunday — 10 more than the previous day, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Updated Jul 18, 2021 - Energy & Environment

At least 184 people dead after devastating European floods

Rhineland-Palatinate. Photo: Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images

At least 184 people have died in Germany and Belgium amid a rare flood event that has devastated the region, Reuters reported on Sunday.

The latest: At least 157 have died in Germany and, in Belgium, the death toll stood at 27, as of Sunday morning.

Heat wave roasting Rockies, Plains, as dry lightning fire threat looms

For multiple days in a row, 30,000+ foot pyrocumulus clouds have formed during extreme fire behavior over eastern portion of the BootlegFire in southern Oregon. If these clouds 'collapse' they can cause dangerous outflow winds and ember falls for firefighters working in the area. Photo: Oregon Dept. of Forestry/141st Air Refueling Wing of Washington Air National Guard

Another heat wave is striking the U.S. — this time engulfing the northern Rockies and High Plains, where temperatures were set to soar into the triple digits this weekend. The heat won't relent for a week in some areas.

Why it matters: Extreme heat contributes to the potential for new wildfires to form, as well as extreme wildfire behavior.

As next heat wave nears, wildfires rage in West

A pyrocumulus cloud caused by the Bootleg Fire, 27 miles northeast of Klamath Falls, drifting into the air north of the Bootleg Fire forward operating base in Bly, Oregon on July 15. Photo: PAYTON BRUNI / Getty Images

A total of 70 large wildfires are burning across the U.S., according to the National Interagency Fire Center, and this number is likely to grow as yet another powerful heat dome is set to build across the West, sending temperatures skyrocketing.

Why it matters: States across the northern Rockies and parts of the Pacific Northwest are set to see another searing heat wave from Saturday through at least Wednesday, with temperatures hitting 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above average. This could significantly exacerbate the wildfires that are already ravaging the territory.