Facebook Twitter

What will climate change do to your community? New tool gives us a peek

SHARE What will climate change do to your community? New tool gives us a peek
Angel Martinez, who has been homeless on and off for several years, pours ice water on her head in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Angel Martinez, who has been homeless on and off for several years, pours ice water on her head in an attempt to stay cool in the scorching heat in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022.

Gabrielle Lurie, San Francisco Chronicle via Associated Press

Fires, heat, flooding or drought — if you live in the U.S., chances are one of these climate-fueled weather events is impacting your life.

That’s according to a new online tool unveiled by the White House on Thursday that gives a real-time look at what climate change and extreme weather is doing at the community level.

Called Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation, the tracker allows you to sift through communities around the country threatened by extreme heat, drought, wildfires, and coastal and inland flooding, which according to the portal are currently impacting over 237 million people. Consider this:

  • Over 40.1 million Americans are living in areas with extreme heat alerts, most of them in California.
  • Over 44.2 million are under inland flooding alerts, mostly in the Los Angeles and Deep South areas.
  • An additional 39.5 million people are under coastal flooding alerts along the Southern California coast and the Washington, D.C., to New York City area.
  • Over 114 million people are impacted by drought, most of them west of the Mississippi River.
  • There are 419 active wildfires, the majority in Idaho, California and the Pacific Northwest.

The tracker allows you to filter between these five categories and gives granular-level information specific for a community — for instance, under the “extreme heat” filter, data is available for five regions of Salt Lake County alone.

Even more specific data is available using the portal’s assessment tool, allowing you to pinpoint any county in the country and instantly receive climate projections spanning into 2099.

Again using Salt Lake County as an example, from 2070 to 2099, Utahns can expect at least three days a year with temperatures over 105 degrees in a “low emissions scenario.” In a “high emissions scenario,” the county could see as many as 13 days over 105 degrees.

The portal also factors census data and building code information into its projections.

“The climate crisis is hurting our communities and our economy,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a news release. “Addressing climate change and building climate resilience are among the Commerce Department’s top priorities. By combining critical climate data and climate-hazard information with the resources to help fund resilience and adaptation projects, CMRA will be an invaluable tool for local communities across America.”

AP22252120931452.jpg

A helicopter drops water on the Fairview Fire burning on a hillside on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, near Hemet, Calif. Scientists say a warming planet will lead to hotter, longer and more wildfire-plagued heat waves.

Ringo H.W. Chiu, Associated Press