Beyond the US, China
experienced deadly flooding events in July, as Canada and southern Europe battled pernicious wildfires of their own. Meanwhile, precipitation at the summit of Greenland fell as rain and not snow for the first time on record
"It was impossible to ignore climate change this summer," Rachel Licker, a senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told CNN. "And unfortunately, this isn't a one-time thing ... this is what we can expect more of, especially if we don't get off fossil fuels and invest in measures to build our resilience as soon as possible."
After months of deadly extremes, Americans' feelings on the climate crisis has evolved dramatically. For the first time, a majority of Americans now believe that the US is facing the consequences of a warming world, according to a new poll
from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Here's what the US experienced this summer.
7. Hurricane Henri
Hurricane Henri, after weakening to a topical storm, flooded parts of the Northeast
in late August with a deluge of rain from New Jersey to southern New England.
The storm set a new record for the most rain in a single hour in New York City -- nearly two inches of rain fell in Central Park from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. on August 21, according to the National Weather Service. Nearly 5 inches of rain fell in New York City the following day, which also set a record for the date.
Tens of thousands of homes were left without power across the Northeast, with more than 42,000 customers left powerless in Rhode Island alone.
Extreme rainfall rates are becoming more common because of human-caused climate change, scientists say. Scientists reported in August
that "the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events have increased since the 1950s over most land area."
6. Tennessee flash flooding
In the same week Hurricane Henri unleashed a torrent in the Northeast, a staggering amount of rain
, unrelated to the hurricane, led to flash flooding in Tennessee that destroyed more than 270 homes
and killed at least 21 people
Among those killed were 7-month-old twins
, according to the Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency. The twins were swept out of their father's arms during the flood, a family member said.
State emergency-management officials were not prepared for the magnitude of the event. The downed phone lines, coupled with washed out roads, made it harder for them to get into the flood zone. One resident told CNN
that even after seeking refuge on the highest room in her house, the water kept rising to the point that the bed she was on began to float.
She said she later called a police officer who urged her to get into the attic and break through to the roof.
5. Water shortage declared
While flooding tore through the East, a water shortage was declared in the West.
Plagued by extreme, climate change-fueled drought
and increasing demand for water, the federal government in August declared a water shortage on the Colorado River
for the first time, triggering mandatory water consumption cuts for states in the Southwest beginning in 2022.
Two of the nation's largest reservoirs fed by the Colorado River -- Lake Powell
and Lake Mead
-- have been draining at alarming rates
. California's Lake Oroville dropped so low that the reservoir's hydroelectric power plant was shut down for the first time
since it opened in the 1960s.
Brad Udall, senior water and climate scientist at Colorado State University, told CNN
that the West should prepare for more shortages as the climate crisis intensifies.
"Not only do we have to plan for these undesirable water outcomes, but we also have to get our act together and reduce greenhouse gases as fast as we can," Udall said.
4. Bootleg, Dixie and Caldor Fires
A summer of record-breaking, triple-digit heat and severe drought fueled more than a hundred large wildfires in the West
. The three largest fires of 2021 have burned roughly 1.6 million acres, an area half the size of Connecticut.
In July, the Bootleg Fire
scorched more than 410,000 acres in southern Oregon, making it the second largest wildfire in the country this year.
At the same time, the Dixie Fire in California was slowly growing and later surpassed Bootleg as the largest fire in the US this year, charring nearly a million acres
and making it the second largest fire in California history.
A few weeks later, the Cald