Reporters covering floods, fires and other weather-driven disasters sometimes hesitate to link these extreme events to climate change. But TV meteorologists increasingly see an opportunity — and a responsibility — to help local audiences better understand the connections. Their unique relationship with viewers makes it easier to get past partisan divisions, while innovative tools are providing new ways to communicate information.
"State Farm said it would stop selling new insurance policies to homeowners in California, exacerbating troubles for thousands in the wildfire-prone state, who are already feeling the heat with coverage getting costlier or harder to come by."
"The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a California unit of oil refiner PBF Energy Inc over a November emissions release, the company said."
Some areas of the United States are hot and getting hotter, thanks to climate change and now the coming El Niño. But some areas have little history with extreme temperatures — and those places are among the ones to watch this summer for local and regional reporting. Plus, who are the most vulnerable in your community when it comes to heat waves?
Forest fires have grown increasingly dangerous in a warming climate, a subject freelance journalist Jane Braxton Little has covered extensively in recent years. But her reporting turned personal when the rampaging Dixie Fire destroyed her small California town. As she explains in the new Inside Story Q&A, the wildfire disaster gave her a perspective no reporter would wish for.
"The land near Yosemite National Park had been tended by Irene Vasquez’s family for decades. They took care of their seven acres by setting small fires to thin vegetation and help some plants to grow. But the steep, chaparral-studded slopes surrounding the property hadn’t seen fire since Vasquez and fellow members of the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation were barred from practicing cultural burning on a wider scale some 100 years before."
"Highway and city planners saddled a once-proud Black community with freeways and diesel fumes, while more affluent white neighborhoods were spared the traffic and toxics."
"A California tribe has signed agreements with state and federal agencies to work together on efforts to return endangered Chinook salmon to their traditional spawning areas upstream of Shasta Dam, a deal that could advance the long-standing goal of tribal leaders to reintroduce fish that were transplanted from California to New Zealand more than a century ago and still thrive there."
"California's record-setting winter is providing a much-needed boost for wildlife, including blooming wildflowers and the fish and ducks that depend on thriving rivers and streams. Still, for other animals, the rising waters are perilous. Just ask the bunnies."