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Climate

How Hurricane Idalia Swamped Florida, in 9 Striking Photos

The region faces a long road to recovery.

While it appears that Hurricane Idalia may not have been as destructive as initally feared, the storm still incurred plenty of damage, with heavy rains and flash flooding stretching from Florida’s Gulf Coast to eastern North Carolina. Nearly 300,000 customers have been left without power, scores of homes were lost, and as these photos show, the region will face a long road to recovery.

Flooded Tarpon Springs.A fire burns as flood waters inundate downtown Tarpon Springs, Florida, after Hurricane Idalia. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A woman and her dog walking through floodwaters.A woman and her dog walk through floodwaters in Tarpon Springs.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A man walking his bike through floodwaters.A man walks his bike past his flooded apartment in Crystal River, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

People kayaking through flooded streets.People kayak through flooded streets in Crystal River.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A submerged car.A car that crashed after hitting a fallen tree sits in a gully in Perry, Florida.Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A storm-damaged gas station.A storm-damaged gas station in Perry.Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A storm-damaged Dollar Tree.A storm-damaged Dollar Tree store in Perry.Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A storm-damaged McDonald's sign.A storm-damaged McDonald's sign in Perry.Sean Rayford/Getty Images

People working to clear Interstate 10 of fallen trees.People work to clear Interstate 10 of fallen trees near Madison, Florida.Sean Rayford/Getty Images

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Jacob Lambert profile image

Jacob Lambert

Jacob is Heatmap's founding multimedia editor. Before joining Heatmap, he was The Week's digital art director and an associate editor at MAD magazine.

Economy

America’s Entire Energy Story in a Single Oregon Canyon

The Owyhee River watershed is among the country’s largest areas of pristine wilderness. It’s also prime for green development.

The Owyhee Canyonlands.
Heatmap Illustration/Jeva Lange, Getty Images

On a stormy May evening in 1882, approximately 10 gigawatts of electricity split from the sky above southeastern Oregon and struck a cattleman named Hiram Leslie as he approached his camp on the Owyhee River.

Leslie’s horse died instantly; Leslie did not. Legend has it the pioneer survived for six days after the lightning strike — his brain pulsing and visible through his cleaved-open skull — only to finally expire in his bed back in the boomtown of Silver City, Idaho. Dugout Gulch, an 8-mile canyon near the ranchers’ camp that contains some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in all of Oregon state, was renamed in Leslie’s honor. One can’t help but wonder, though, whether the decision to rechristen also came from some nervous sense of deference to the land.

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Lifestyle

Gas Utility Misadventures in Neighborhood Electrification

Knock knock, it’s your local power provider. Can I interest you in a heat pump?

A heat pump installer.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Natural gas utilities spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on pipelines and related infrastructure — costs they typically recoup from ratepayers over the course of decades. In the eyes of clean energy advocates, these investments are not only imprudent, but also a missed opportunity. If a utility needs to replace a section of old pipeline at risk of leaking, for example, it could instead pay to electrify all of the homes on that line and retire the pipeline altogether — sometimes for less than the cost of replacement.

Utilities in climate-leading states like New York and California, under the direction of their regulators, have started to give this a shot, asking homeowners one by one if they want to electrify. The results to date are not especially promising — mainly because any one building owner can simply reply “no thanks.” The problem is that, legally, utilities don’t really have any other option.

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Protesters and lab-grown meat.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

At a triumphant bill-signing earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sounded less like the leader of the nation’s third largest state and more like the host of a QAnon podcast. “Today, Florida is fighting back against the global elite’s plan to force the world to eat meat grown in a petri dish or bugs to achieve their authoritarian goals,” he said. DeSantis was there to trumpet a new state law that outlaws the sale of lab-grown meat, also known as cultivated meat.

One might reasonably ask why DeSantis and his Republican allies care about lab-grown meat at all. The technology — in which cells from animals are fed with nutrients and grown until they eventually produce something resembling a cut of actual meat — is still in the experimental stage, and it could be decades before companies are able to produce it on an industrial scale, if ever. So why bother outlawing it?

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