UPDATED: Extreme Weather Takes Over America

UPDATE June 29, 2012: Nature’s fury continues to wreak havoc across the US. The Colorado Waldo Canyon wildfire—officially the worst ever in state history—is leaving a wasteland in its wake, according to the Colorado Springs mayor. (Read all about the Colorado fires in our explainer here.)

 Meanwhile, it’s hot as hell almost everywhere in the country, but historic torridity is creeping east. Sweltering temperatures have shattered Dust Bowl era records. At least two people may have died from excessive heat. Oh, and good luck breathing this weekend, Maryland. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Debby, which pelted northern Florida with more than 20 inches of wet despair, has claimed seven lives. Perhaps June is the cruelest month.

June 28, 2012 - It was 103 degrees in Memphis, Tenn.  Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal/ZUMAPressJune 28, 2012 – It was 103 degrees in Memphis, Tenn. Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal/ZUMAPress

June 27, 2012 -  Port Richey, Fla. residents were evacuated from their mobile home park in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Debby. Brendan Fitterer/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMAPressJune 27, 2012 – Port Richey, Fla. residents were evacuated from their mobile home park in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Debby. Brendan Fitterer/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMAPress


June 22, 2009: The Supreme Court’s upcoming health-care ruling, Sandusky’s trial by jury, and this 68-year-old, bullied bus monitor aside, the big news everyone seems to be talking about this week is WTF is up with our nation’s weather?

In northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, three days of torrential downpour forced nearly 300 people from their homes, drowned more than a dozen zoo animals, and caused $80 million in infrastructure damage. Fifteen large, uncontained fires are blazing in 10 states; in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, deadly conflagrations have scorched more than 400,000 acres of land. On the other side of the country, a giant heat wave is engulfing the Northeast and parts of the Great Plains.

The map below should give you some indication of the past week’s crazy weather forecast. Click on the colored markers for more detailed information about record-breaking temperatures and precipitation and the status of current wildfire suppression efforts.

Sources: National Climate Data Center via Wunderground.com; USDA Forest Service Active Fire Mapping Program, June 22, 2012

Want a closer look at weather patterns and extremes in your area? Read Julia Whitty’s post on Weather Underground, and make your own interactive map here.

Here are some photos from this week’s weather weirdness.

June 20, 2012 - Flooding in Duluth, Minn. has torn up area roads.  Brian Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/ZUMAPressJune 20, 2012 – Flooding in Duluth, Minn. has torn up area roads. Brian Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/ZUMAPressJune 20, 2012 - A wildfire blazes behind St. Anthony Catholic Church in Sandia Pueblo, N. Mex.  Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal/ZUMAPressJune 20, 2012 – A wildfire blazes behind St. Anthony Catholic Church in Sandia Pueblo, N. Mex. Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal/ZUMAPress

June 21, 2012 - A mother and her son try to beat the heat while waiting for a bus in Baltimore, Md.  Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/ZUMAPressJune 21, 2012 – A mother and her son try to beat the heat while waiting for a bus in Baltimore, Md. Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/ZUMAPress

What was the weather like in your part of town? Let us know in the comments.

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

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