After giving much of the U.S. an unseasonably green Christmas, the weather decided to punish us a bunch more and unleash deadly tornadoes on much of Texas and the Midwest. And it looks like winter is finally coming, too — and a lot of it.
This year has been the warmest on record. The extreme weather and unseasonable temperatures of December have been blamed mostly on El Niño and climate change, which got a lot of attention from world leaders at the U.N. conference in Paris earlier this month.
Here’s a roundup of the scary or unpleasant weather events that are taking place in the United States and across the globe.
Nine tornadoes hit Texas.
On Saturday, at least 11 people died after nine tornadoes — some with winds reaching 175 miles per hour — smacked the Dallas metro area. A police spokesperson called it “total devastation.” Governor Greg Abbott declared emergencies in four counties, and efforts to clean up the destruction have begun. One survivor told the Dallas Morning News that he saw a riding lawnmower flying through the air.
Similar storms ravaged Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama last week, leaving another 19 people dead.
And after that … blizzards hit Texas.
As the tornadoes hit in Dallas, the temperatures reached the 80s. By today, freezing temperatures were forecast, and some areas of Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma could get up to 15 inches of snow. Arizona and New Mexico have also declared states of emergency. More than 1,000 flights have been canceled or delayed because of the extreme weather. The snow isn’t the only problem either: The cold temperatures mean that drivers have to deal with black ice, too.
Per CNN, at least 20 states have declared weather watches or warnings on Sunday. Presidential candidates have been forced to cancel events in Iowa, which is also expecting lots of snow. The caucuses are about a month away.
Flooding in the Midwest.
Missouri has also declared a state of emergency because of intense rain: At least 13 people have died in Missouri or Illinois because of floods, mostly people who drowned after their cars floated into flooded roads.
Flooding in northern England, too.
Prime Minister David Cameron called the flooding “unprecedented.” It’s been raining in northern England for weeks. One pub that had been around for 200 years collapsed, and hundreds of other buildings are at risk. Hundreds of residents have been evacuated from the area. Officers have been kayaking and canoeing down streets to find people who might need rescuing.
Intense flooding also took place all over South America, forcing more than 100,000 people to evacuate.
Wildfires in Australia and Spain.
At least 103 homes were destroyed by wildfires in southern Australia on Christmas. Hundreds of firefighters were deployed to fight the fires, and no one was injured or killed.
This weekend, 40 wildfires consumed structures in Spain, where there has been an unexpected lack of rain lately.
Smog in Milan and Rome.
And to use a broad definition of weather, let’s move on to smog.
Beijing has already been dealing with awful smog from pollution — and trying to prevent it from getting worse so people can go outside — and now Milan and Rome are dealing with the same problem. The unseasonably dry weather in Italy has made pollution from cars stick around instead of dispersing. Cars and scooters are going to be periodically banned over the next few days to try to temporarily fix the problem. The mayor in Milan released a statement that noted, “In these days of major emergency, we cannot remain indifferent.”
Snow in New York?
It could happen. That same storm that made life miserable in the southeast is heading north and could reach New York and Boston this week. The air is already far colder than it was last week. Upstate New York could see a few inches of snow or freezing rain, but New York City is expected to only get cold rain — but maybe a little bit of wintry mix, too.