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Morning Spew

Climate Apocalypse Summer Rolls On

Forecast: Frogs.

9:14 AM EDT on July 10, 2023

Sad ferry ride. (Hell Gate)

The year started so nicely: a mild winter led to a cool spring, days with light humidity, a gentle breeze, and sweaters in the evening. From a roof, you could see for miles. But then, things took a turn. 

First, of course, was the initial visit of Canadian wildfire smoke, which blanketed the city and had us breathe the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes (without the actual fun of smoking cigarettes). Then came the bugs (aphids, it turned out), which arrived at the same time as a return of the wildfire smoke as well as a significant turn in the weather—hot, humid, sticky, unrelenting. 

And then yesterday, the floods. While New York City was mostly spared, the Hudson Valley received what's known as a "thousand-year rain event," where up to eight inches of rain fell within three hours. The results of this much water, in this short amount of time, were catastrophic: 

At least one person is dead from the flooding, which left cars stranded, roads washed away, and train service north of Croton-Harmon on Metro-North suspended.

The severity of the storms were reminiscent of 2021, when remnants of Hurricane Ida hit New York City, leading to flash flooding that left many of the city's highways underwater, and flooded basements in the outer boroughs. Leading up to yesterday's storms, the City sent out alerts telling people in basements to get to higher ground. Luckily, the city was spared the worst of the storms—but more rain is expected today (although the worst is apparently over). 

The rest of the U.S. isn't faring much better: The ocean in Florida is like a jacuzzi right now, meaning a lot more hurricanes are on the way, and the entire Southwest is encased in an unrelenting heat dome

The climate is changing in a hurry. There are things that New York can do immediately to urgently wind down its reliance on fossil fuels, like getting its buildings off of carbon-spewing heating systems. That will take a lot of money, political capital, and focus. But at this point, it's a choice between doing the work to head off even worse climate outcomes for New York, or just waiting for the calamity to happen, and spending even more to rebuild. Meanwhile, a cruel summer continues. 

Some links to take shelter under: 

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