CONCORD, NH– Every Single Granite Stater lives in a county affected recently by weather-related disasters, including winter storms Nemo and Juno, according to an interactive, online map released today that crunches data from the federal government. Scientists say global warming is already exacerbating some extreme weather events and their impacts.
“From massive floods to severe ice storms dangerous weather is already hitting close to home,” said Sharon Solomon, global warming organizer with Environment New Hampshire. “And without action to stop climate change, scientists say these extremes—and their impact on Granite Staters—will only get worse.”
Environment New Hampshire researchers, who created the online map, found that in the last five years, nine extreme weather events have impacted residents across the state. Scientists predict unchecked global warming will increase the frequency, severity and the catastrophic impacts of storms.
In addition to statistics for recent weather-related disasters, the map includes case studies and personal stories from Americans impacted by extreme weather events across the country, including Granite Staters.
“The Great Storm of 2008 is as bad as it gets in New Hampshire. Other than two weeks without power, living on a generator and cutting up fallen tree limbs, my top memory is from the night of the storm. We were told there might be some light icing,” said Don from Londonderry, New Hampshire. “A large bang woke me up at about 1 am. I jumped out of bed then heard another cannon shot and another. The trees were snapping all around us. Snapping with the force of thunder and it was a very long night hoping none would hit the house. None did, but the entire northeast was buried in ice, with streets that resembled logged jammed rivers.”
The increase of extreme, unpredictable weather was discussed at the Climate Impacts Maple Syrup Breakfast just a day before this release in Keene, New Hampshire. “Since New Hampshire maple sugar makers have been tapping maples, they have relied on the month of March’s freezing nights and thawing days to produce the sap needed to make maple syrup. These conditions seem to be earlier and fewer year after year – keeping sugar makers on their toes” said forester and maple sugaring expert for University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Steven Roberge. Local producers at the event discussed the new difficulties planning for the futures of their multigenerational sugar bushes due to the unpredictability climate change presents, which include the threat of increased extreme weather.
The map reveals that nationwide, more than 57 million Americans live in counties that were affected by more than five weather disasters over the last five years, while counties housing 97 percent of the population experienced declared disasters at least once.
The analysis comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants that also incentivize the development of wind, solar, and other forms of clean energy.
“Ultimately, we’re confident that the Clean Power Plan will survive polluter attacks in the courts,” said Solomon. “But in the mean time, states should be moving forward with clean energy solutions – for the sake of our climate, our air, and our health.”
Since the pre-industrial era, average global temperature has increased by nearly a degree Celsius. In December, nearly 200 nations reached a global accord to limit warming to no more than another degree – a benchmark scientists say is critical to avert even more severe and frequent weather disasters.
“To meet our commitment in Paris and avoid the most dangerous climate impacts,” concluded Solomon, “ultimately we need to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”
Environment New Hampshire is a statewide, citizen funded advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.EnvironmentNewHampshire.org