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A Year in Pictures

Picturing 2021 through its extreme weather events

2021 saw countless numbers of extreme weather events. While climate change does not cause extreme weather events, it makes them more intense and more likely to occur. Here are pictures of 12 of the United States’ worst extreme weather events in 2021.


January

A long band of atmospheric water vapor, also known as an atmospheric river, over California led to flooding and mudslides in the state in January. According to NASA, atmospheric rivers may lead to more vast and destructive atmospheric rivers.


Section of Highway 1 washed away after rainfall.



February

The Valentine’s Week cold wave is linked to the stretching of the Arctic polar vortex, the vortex of winds that keep cold air at the North Pole. Man-made climate change may cause an increase in disruption to the polar vortex.


Texas highway covered in snow.



March

In March, three supercells, or upwardly rotating storms, hit the Deep South, spinning out hail and 43 confirmed tornados.


Home near Birmingham, AL damaged after March 25 tornado.



April

In April, a series of hailstorms, tornadoes, flash floods, and violent winds hit the Southwest.


Damage caused to car by hail in Norman, OK.



May

Torrential rainfall from storms caused severe flooding across Louisiana and Texas in May.


Emergency responders in Lake Charles, LA.



June

An exceptionally intense heat dome caused the Pacific Northwest heatwave. Warming due to climate change makes these heat waves much more common.


Portland residents sit in cooling center.



July

The Dixie Fire, the most destructive wildfire of the year, began on July 14 and destroyed almost 1 million acres of forest.


Pyrocumulonimbus cloud generated by Dixie Fire.



August

Drought reduced Lake Oroville to 24% of its capacity, causing the Hyatt hydroelectric power plant to shut off.


Houseboats crowd together in the remaining water on the reservoir.



September

Hurricane Ida, a category 4 Atlantic hurricane, hit Louisiana with 150 mph winds. Its effects traveled to the Northeast and caused tens of billions of dollars of economic cost.


Hurricane Ida’s damage is shown in Grand Isle, LA.



October

Three atmospheric rivers arrived above California in late October, causing rainfall records, mudslides, rockslides, power outages, and floods.


Man with umbrella stands in front of Golden Gate Bridge.



November

Typically, by late fall, conditions necessary for tornado formation are uncommon. However, this year, a cold front meeting warmer-than-usual Atlantic waters led to destructive tornadoes on the East Coast.


Tornado touches down in Connecticut.



December

Tornadoes continued in December. The tornado outbreak made its way through Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky, killing 88.


Debris is scattered along a highway in Bremen, Kentucky.

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