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From Texas to Brazil, a Look at Extreme Weather Events Unfolding Right Now

On ominous forecasts, new research on gas stoves, and snakes

From Texas to Brazil, a Look at Extreme Weather Events Unfolding Right Now
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: The Sierra Nevada received more than two feet of snow, marking the region’s snowiest day of the season • Tropical Cyclone Hidaya lost strength over the weekend • It will be about 80 degrees Fahrenheit and clear in Cape Canaveral for the launch of Boeing’s Starliner space capsule.


1. A severe weather roundup

It feels appropriate today to begin by acknowledging the extreme weather events happening around the world right now. There are so many that spotlighting only one risks ignoring the underlying reality that climate-driven natural disasters of all kinds are becoming more frequent and severe.

Houston’s floods – More than 400 people in and around Houston, Texas, evacuated their homes over the weekend due to flooding. At least one person, a child, was killed. In one nearby county, more than 21 inches of rain fell over five days last week. The rain has tapered off but the cleanup has just begun.

Brazil’s rain – In Brazil’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, days of intense rain caused the Guaiba River to overflow and flood more than 340 cities, including the region’s capital of Porto Alegre. At least 78 people are dead and more than 115,000 have been forced to evacuate. One climatologist called the catastrophe “a disastrous cocktail” of climate change and the El Niño effect. “It looks like a scene out of a war,” said Rio Grande do Sul governor Eduardo Leite.

An aerial view of Porto AlegreRamiro Sanchez/Getty Images

Chile’s fires – Fires in Chile’s Valparaiso region, fueled by an intense heat wave and enduring drought, have killed at least 51 people and burned more than 64,000 acres.

Kenya’s deluge – Flooding and landslides in Kenya from unrelenting rainfall have killed more than 200 people. It is still raining and the weather is forecast to worsen throughout the month of May.

Southeast Asia’s heat wave – A lengthy heat wave has shattered temperature records across Southeast Asia, forcing many schools to close. One weather historian called the heat wave “the most extreme event in world climatic history.”

2. Central states brace for week of intense storms

Meanwhile, forecasters are getting nervous about a large weather system making its way across Central states that could bring severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and giant hail starting today and lasting through Wednesday. “After enduring severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes last week, this forecast is not a welcome sight for residents of Kansas and Oklahoma especially,” wrote Andrew Freedman at Axios.



3. Study links gas stove fumes to 50,000 childhood asthma cases

New research published in Science Advances finds that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution from gas and propane stoves could be responsible for 50,000 U.S. cases of childhood asthma and up to 19,000 adult deaths each year. For the study, scientists from Stanford University, Harvard University, and the Central California Asthma Collaborative measured NO2 levels in more than 100 homes and created an air quality index that pulled in other data sets including cooking habits, ventilation, and home size. Their results show that NO2 pollution spreads throughout the home, and people living in spaces that are less than 800 square feet in size have four times more long-term NO2 exposure than people in homes that are larger than 3,000 square feet. Indigenous, Alaska Native, Hispanic and Black households have the highest exposure to NO2.

4. Republicans move to repeal EV tax credits

In case you missed it last week, Senate Republicans put forward a bill called the “ELITE” Vehicles Act that would repeal the electric vehicle tax credit in the Inflation Reduction Act. Wyoming GOP Sen. John Barrasso, who introduced the bill, claims the EV tax credit “benefits the wealthiest of Americans.” Jameson Dow at Electreknoted that Barrasso has received $526,425 from the oil and gas industry in this election cycle. The bill stands little chance in the Senate but “puts the Biden administration on notice that the credit is at risk if the GOP wins control of Congress and the White House in November,” wrote James Bikales at E&E News.

5. Philanthropic heavyweights to fund research into climate change and diseases

Three of the world’s biggest charitable groups – the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – have teamed up to fund research into the overlapping crises of climate change, infectious disease, malnutrition, and antimicrobial resistance. The $300 million, three-year initiative aims to “break down barriers between often isolated areas of research,” said Novo Nordisk Foundation CEO Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen. It looks like the climate research will focus on finding “novel” solutions through better climate data, sustainable agriculture, and more resilient food systems. The partnership is specifically focused on improving outcomes for low- and middle-income countries, which are disproportionately affected by climate change. The organizations will be looking for public and private partners to expand the research project.


New research suggests climate change will force some venomous snakes to migrate into new, unprepared territories.

Jessica  Hullinger profile image

Jessica Hullinger

Jessica Hullinger is a freelance writer and editor who likes to think deeply about climate science and sustainability. She previously served as Global Deputy Editor for The Week, and her writing has been featured in publications including Fast Company, Popular Science, and Fortune. Jessica is originally from Indiana but lives in London.

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