Over 40% of Americans Live In Counties Hit By Climate Disasters In 2021

"As climate-fueled extreme weather intensified last year, more than 80 percent of Americans experienced a heat wave. The impacts of fires and severe storms also spread."

"2021 ended as it began: with disaster. Twelve months after an atmospheric river deluged California, triggering mudslides in burned landscapes and leaving a half-million people without power, a late-season wildfire destroyed hundreds of homes in the suburbs of Denver. In between, Americans suffered blistering heat waves, merciless droughts and monstrous hurricanes. People collapsed in farm fields and drowned in basement apartments; entire communities were obliterated by surging seas and encroaching flames.

More than 4 in 10 Americans live in a county that was struck by climate-related extreme weather last year, according to a new Washington Post analysis of federal disaster declarations, and more than 80 percent experienced a heat wave. In the country that has generated more greenhouse gases than any other nation in history, global warming is expanding its reach and exacting an escalating toll.

At least 656 people died amid the onslaught of disasters, media reports and government records show. The cost of the destruction tops $104 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, even before officials calculate the final toll of wildfires, drought and heat waves in the West."

Sarah Kaplan and Andrew Ba Tran report for the Washington Post January 5, 2022.

Source: Washington Post, 01/07/2022