"Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration"

"Extreme weather due to climate change displaced more than a million people from their homes last year. It could soon reshape the nation"

"Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas and Louisiana last August, causing $125 billion in damage, dumped more water out of the sky than any storm in U.S. history. By one calculation, roughly a million gallons fell for every person in Texas. The water rained down on a flat former bayou that had become a concrete and asphalt empire of more than 2.3 million people. Highways turned into rivers and shopping malls into lakes. As the water rose, people scrambled for safe refuge – into attics, onto rooftops and overpasses. A Texas game warden captured a nine-foot-long alligator in the dining room of a home near Lake Houston. Snakes swam into kitchens. A hawk flew into a taxicab and wouldn't leave.

As the deluge continued, tens of thousands of people fled – some in fishing boats down suburban streets, some in canoes, some on Jet Skis. Others risked a harrowing drive through water, fallen trees and swimming dogs. More than 30,000 people ended up in shelters. Thousands more headed up Interstate 45, toward Dallas, where parking lots at IHOPs and McDonalds were full of desperate people wondering how their suburban neighborhoods had turned into Waterworld. Many of them lived in their cars until the floods receded, and eventually returned to devastated homes.

Some people who hit the road during the storm kept going. A few days after the waters drained away, I was driving across central Arizona on old Route 66, which novelist John Steinbeck called "the Mother Road" – it was the route that hundreds of thousands of people took to escape America's first man-made environmental catastrophe. Today, the ghosts of the Dust Bowl, the 1930s drought that caused a region roughly the size of Pennsylvania to dry up and blow away, haunt every gas station and roadside ice cream shop."

Jeff Goodell reports for Rolling Stone February 25, 2018.

Source: Rolling Stone, 02/27/2018