SEVERE STORMS AND WILDFIRES IMPACT MANY ACROSS THE UNITED STATES
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17 2022 AS OF 4:30 PM EST
Heavy rainfall and severe storm weather have led to significant flash flooding events across the United States (US) over the past week. In Clark County, Nevada, flooding began Thursday afternoon, August 11, after monsoon storms produced torrential rains along the Las Vegas strip for the second time in a two-week span. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flood advisory late Thursday cautioning local residents not to drive through low-lying or poor-drainage areas. The city’s total rainfall of 0.58 inches brought its precipitation total for this monsoon season to 1.28 inches, the most recorded in a decade. Local authorities reported two fatalities as the result of flooding in flood control channels. More than 17,500 people reported power outages in the central and western regions of the Las Vegas valley as a result of the storm.
⛈️ With 0.58 inches added to the tally yesterday, the monsoon season in #Vegas has delivered 1.28″ of rainfall so far! That makes this the wettest monsoon in ten years! And we’ve still got a month and a half left to add to our total! #VegasWeather ⛈️ pic.twitter.com/qIDn5RZWiQ
— NWS Las Vegas (@NWSVegas) August 12, 2022
Twitter: NWS Las Vegas
In West Virginia, flash floods prompted dozens of emergency water rescues on Monday, August 15, as heavy rainfall brought two to five inches of rain in Kanawha and Fayette counties. Local officials reported at least two destroyed bridges and 100 damaged homes as a result of the storm. The storm also resulted in downed trees, disruption to potable water systems, and power outages for more than 2,000 people. In response to the severe flooding throughout the region, Governor Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency for both counties on August 15.
In addition, excessive rainfall and flash flooding led to road closures and mudslides in Colorado this week. According to San Miguel County authorities, at least four mudslides caused highway obstructions near Keystone Hill Monday afternoon, August 15. Dozens of flood and severe weather warnings were issued throughout the state, as some parts of the south metropolitan area received considerable urban flooding. In Broomfield, Colorado, the NWS recorded over three inches of rain Tuesday morning, August 16, totaling nearly 25 percent of the region’s average annual rainfall in less than a day.
WILDFIRES ACROSS THE US CAUSE MORE FATALITIES AND DAMAGE
According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), there are currently 57 active large wildfires burning more than 1.4 million across across the US in Alaska, Montana, Idaho, California, Oregon, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Washington, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii, Wyoming, and North Carolina, . In California, the McKinney Fire, the state’s largest blaze this year, has burned over 60,000 acres and is now 95 percent contained. The McKinney Fire has destroyed 185 structures and caused 11 injuries. Additionally, four fatalities have been confirmed as a direct result of the blaze. The cause of the fire remains unknown. Additionally, Oregon is experiencing significant wildfire activity, with 23 active fires burning over 6,000 acres. 11 injuries have been reported from the Cedar Creek Fire, the Windigo Fire, and the Potter Fire. The Big Swamp fire claimed the life of a firefighter on August 10th.
Crew E-601 from #hawaiivolcanoesnationalpark is one of numerous crews assisting on the Leilani Fire on the Island of Hawai’i, which had burned 16,800 acres as of 8/13/22. #FireYear2022 #FirefightingResources pic.twitter.com/mnsTuDmm8Q
— NPS Fire & Aviation (@FireAviationNPS) August 15, 2022
Twitter: NPS Fire & Aviation
NIFC reports that from January 1st to August 16th, 2022, there have been 42,349 fires which have burned 5,917,086 acres, surpassing the totals from the same timeframe in each of the last four years. On August 1st, NIFC released their National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for August through November, which analyzes past wildfire weather and forecasts future risk and activity across the US. The outlook
notes that the year-to-date burned acreage is approximately 160 percent above the 10-year average with more than 90 percent occurring in Alaska and in the South and Southwest regions of the US. Several areas of the country remain under Red Flag Warnings which indicate that unstable weather conditions increase the likelihood of producing and/or spreading fire activity.
Know Your Alerts and Warnings: Ready.gov
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges individuals to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against these violent storms. An essential preparedness measure is to sign up in advance for your community’s emergency alerts and warnings and to pay close attention to local weather reports for real-time conditions. Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for, survive during, and be safe after various extreme weather events.
The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.
- Remember, during a storm, it is important to follow the directions of your state and local officials. Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for a storm and how to keep you and your family safe.
- Understanding the meaning of hurricane maps – a NY Times Opinion Piece: Those Hurricane Maps Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
- Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for wildfires and how to keep you and your family safe, including evacuation planning, preparing a go-bag, and staying up-to-date on warnings and notices.
- FEMA America’s PrepareAthon: How to Prepare for a Wildfire.
- The Los Angeles Times regularly updates tracking of California Wildfires: California Wildfires Map.
- The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link.
- Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link.
FEMA provides an informational video about how to be prepared for wildfires: link.