Even the Weather is Bigger in Texas

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlabar/146816429/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Martin La Bar</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Gov. Rick Perry’s default solution to his state’s disastrous drought was to ask Texans to pray for rain. But residents of the Lone Star State had a whole lot of other weather problems to pray about this year.

On Tuesday, Climate Central took a look at the ten states most affected by this year’s weather chaos—and found that Texas tops the list. The ranking took into account the number of people killed by extreme weather events, the price of damage, and how it affected the lives of average residents. Here’s what Climate Central had to say about Texas:

Texas was hit by eight of the nation’s billion dollar disasters – the most of any state in the country. Of the eight, the three most devastating were drought, heat, and wildfires. The drought still grips the state, and it is the most intense one-year drought on record. Unlike past dry periods, the damage to the state has been aggravated by record-breaking heat. Groundwater levels in much of the state have fallen to their lowest levels in more than 60 years, according to observations from NASA satellites.

The heat during the summer of 2011 was relentless, with many cities smashing records for the longest stretch of 100-degree days, including Dallas with a record 70 straight days with 100-degree heat, and San Angelo with a whopping 98 days above 100. July 2011 was the hottest month ever recorded statewide, and Amarillo, Texas reached 111 degrees on June 26, an all-time record high for that location where records date back to 1892.

Alabama, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas, Connecticut, Vermont and New Jersey rounded out the top 10. Nationally, there were twelve billion-dollar disasters this year, including hurricanes, wildfires, drought and tornadoes. And there’s more to come in the future, if you believe climate scientists. Which Rick Perry doesn’t, of course.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend