Not Just Wildfire: The Growing Ripple Effects Of More Extreme Heat And Drought

Not Just Wildfire: The Growing Ripple Effects Of More Extreme Heat And Drought
Not Just Wildfire: The Growing Ripple Effects Of More Extreme Heat And Drought

Not Just Wildfire: The Growing Ripple Effects Of More Extreme Heat And Drought

For the second weekend in a row, parts of the American West will be gripped by historic heat, coming in the second decade of megadrought that has gripped the region for 22 years.

Wildfire is an obvious threat — but there are other consequences of extreme heat and drought, as smaller snowmelts and lower reservoirs lead to water cutbacks and more expensive electricity. And climate change is making it all worse.

Colorado Public Radio’s Michael Elizabeth Sakas reports on another consequence: what happens when there isn’t enough water to build new homes.

Kristina Dahl, senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, explains how extreme heat can affect the human body,

Additional reporting in this episode:

• Jordan Kern spoke to NPR’s Scott Detrow about hydropower in the West.
• Michael Elizabeth Sakas reported on western snowmelt.
• NPR’s Kirk Siegler reported on record high temperatures.
• NPR’s Lauren Sommer reported on dwindling water supplies.
• NPR’s Nathan Rott, Luke Runyon of KUNC in Colorado and Annie Ropeik of New Hampshire Public Radio discussed the growing consequences of heat and drought.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

Email us at considerthis@npr.org.