President Biden declared a major disaster in Texas after severe winter storms struck the state, causing millions of residents to lose power and water.
Why it matters: The declaration clears the way for more federal funds to be spent on relief efforts across the state.
The deadly winter storm in Texas has bombarded hospitals throughout the state.
Why it matters: Doctors have been working to conserve resources, pause non-emergency surgeries, evacuate patients and push back coronavirus vaccine shots.
Millions of Americans are still without power during the winter weather emergency that's sweeping the U.S. — including nearly 1.8 million Texans, per utility tracker poweroutage.us. Some have also lost water services.
The big picture: Texas has been particularly badly hit by the deadly storm, with infrastructure damaged and pipes frozen. Officials told some 7 million Texans Wednesday to boil tap water before drinking it.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing on Wednesday that the Biden administration is sending emergency generators to Texas amid ongoing power outages and freezing weather.
Why it matters: Huge swaths of Texas have been without electricity for days due to critical failures in the state's power grid. The outages come while a winter storm continues to pummel the state, causing unsafe conditions and a desperate need for heat.
More than 4.3 million Texas homes and businesses are without power as of Tuesday morning, per the tracking service poweroutage.us.
Why it matters: Bitter cold temperatures and winter storms are wreaking havoc on the power system in Texas and its refineries, and affecting other states too.
Over 150 million Americans are under winter storm warnings, as a subfreezing cold snap sweeps across the U.S., bringing with it heavy snow and dangerous, icy conditions.
The big picture: Hundreds of flights have been canceled and millions were without power across the U.S. Monday. Controlled outages were scheduled to take place in 14 central states to prevent uncontrolled cuts amid record freezing conditions. At least two people have died in Texas during the storm.
The first major winter storm of 2021 was lashing much of the Eastern U.S. over Monday night, with up to 30 inches of snow falling in some places.
The big picture: COVID-19 vaccination sites and schools closed across the Northeast, including in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York City, where the outdoor subway service was suspended. New Jersey's Transit also paused its bus and rail operations. Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed in NYC, Philadelphia and Boston. At least three deaths have been attributed to the storm in Pennsylvania, per AP.
2020 has been an extraordinary year for wildfires on the U.S. West Coast and around the world, but you should expect more of the same this decade and in years to come.
For the record: That's the assessment of University of California, Los Angeles, climate scientist Daniel Swain, who says we need to learn to live with fire better by embracing good management practices, including traditional indigenous management.
More than 57,ooo wildfires have torched roughly 10,357,000 acres — around 16,000 square miles — in the United States to date this year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).
Why it matters: 2020 was one of the most active fire seasons on record in terms of total number of fires and acres burned, coinciding with drought conditions driven increasingly by climate change across much of the Western U.S., and one of the hottest years on record.
A severe storm struck the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast with heavy rains, flooding and high winds on Thursday, disrupting travel and last minute shopping and causing hazardous road conditions.
Why it matters: The storm, which is expected to continue through Christmas Day, comes roughly a week after a massive snowstorm pummeled the region, killing three people and leaving millions under winter weather alerts.