Photo Essay

  • A photo made available 15 May 2014 shows smoldering trees obscuring the sunset atop a hill in San Marcos, San Diego county, Calif., May 14, 2014. A spate of wildfires in southern California burned at least 30 homes and even forced the evacuation of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, authorities said May 14. Numerous fires have broken out in the region in the past days fueled by near-record temperatures, hot winds and a landscape left parched by severe drought.
  • Jeff Brown waters the roof of his home as vegetation smolders during a wildfire, Thursday, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, Calif. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, trigging thousands of new evacuation orders.
  • A tornado touches down in a field in Akron, Colo. during a severe weather outbreak on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.
  • Firefighters spray water on a burning commercial structure at the Poinsettia fire, one of nine wildfires fueled by wind and record temperatures that erupted in San Diego County throughout the day, on May 14, 2014 in Carlsbad, Calif. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. The Poinsettia fire has destroyed at least eight homes and severely damaged eight condos and two businesses.
  • Smoke and charred ground surround the fire area in San Marcos, Calif., on May 15, 2014. Firefighters have worked tirelessly to save as many homes as they can.
  • Autos sit on top of each other in a washed out section of Dog Track Road in the Millview community as Gulf Coast residents continue cleaning up from damage caused by torrential rains in Pensacola, Fla., Thursday, May 1, 2014. The National Weather Service, estimated 15-20 inches of rain has fallen in the Pensacola area in the past 2 days.
  • A house burns at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California.
  • A number of helicopters fight a fire burning near Fairbanks Ranch, San Diego, Calif. May 13, 2014
  • A firefighter battles a wildfire in Fallbrook, California May 14, 2014. The fire flared as California entered the height of wildfire season in the midst of one of the state's worst droughts on record, setting the stage for what fire officials fear could be a particularly intense and dangerous year.
  • Spring blossoms on trees are coated with snow along 9th street in Boulder, CO on May 11, 2014. amidst big fat wet snowflakes.  4-9 inches is expected in the Denver and Boulder areas with up to a foot forecast for the foothills and mountains. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
  • A burning home is doused with water as firefighters battle with wildfires in Carlsbad, Calif., May 14, 2014. More than 11,000 homes and businesses were ordered to evacuate on Wednesday and power was cut off to many residents as a wind-lashed wildfire roared out of control in San Diego County, authorities said.
  • Herbert Powe (L) and Neshka Howard clean up belongings at their home in the Kelly Ave. Basin area of Pensacola, Fla., May 2, 2014. A state of emergency was declared on Wednesday in Pensacola's Escambia County after being inundated by as much as two feet of relentless rain over a 24-hour period, as severe thunderstorms raced across the northern part of the state. Emergency officials fought to save motorists stranded by flood waters.
  • Commuters pass fresh snow from the fringe of a major spring snowstorm in the nearby mountains, in Superior, Colo., on May 12, 2014. A spring storm has brought up to 3 feet of snow to the Rockies and severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to the Midwest. In Colorado, the snow that began falling on Mother's Day caused some power outages as it weighed down newly greening trees.
  • Mule deer are seen in the snow during a late spring snow storm in Golden, Colorado May 11, 2014.  A Mother's Day snowstorm blanketed the Northern Rockies on Sunday, prompting road closures in Colorado and Wyoming, and the same weather system prompted tornado watches in several Midwestern states as it moves eastward, officials said.
  • An oak tree that has lost all its leaves and most of its branches from a tornado is pictured at sunset near Vilonia, Arkansas May 1, 2014. Flood warnings were posted across the eastern United States on Thursday after a powerful storm system unleashed record amounts of rain from New England to Florida. The remnants of the storm that dumped up to 11 inches of rain in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday had moved into the Atlantic Ocean by early Thursday, said Dan Petersen, a National Weather Service meteorologist. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3NH5D
  • A truck makes its way through remaining flood waters in a Medley, Fla. industrial park, May 16, 2014. Severe weather in Miami, Thursday, spawned one confirmed tornado and disrupted air travel. The National Weather Service reported a tornado briefly touched ground Thursday at about 2:30 p.m. one mile west of Miami International Airport. The storm dumped several inches of rain in parts of South Florida.
  • Firefighters survey damage after overnight flash flooding in Penn Yan, Yates County, New York May 14, 2014. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a state of emergency for Yates County after severe rain and thunderstorms overnight and on Wednesday morning, local newspapers reported. The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the area through Wednesday afternoon. No deaths were reported.
  • A biker passes fresh snow from the fringe of a major spring snowstorm in the nearby mountains, in Superior, Colo., on May 12, 2014. A spring storm has brought up to 3 feet of snow to the Rockies and severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to the Midwest. In Colorado, the snow that began falling on Mother's Day caused some power outages as it weighed down newly greening trees.
  • Rain runs down a pane of glass as a woman aboard a pony waits to guide a horse off the track during a workout session at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, May 16, 2014. The Preakness Stakes horse race is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 17.
  • Daniel Smith waits with his sons Garrison Dority (L) and Gabriel Dority (R) to greet US President Barack Obama during a tour of tornado damaged areas May 7, 2014 in Vilonia, Arkansas. Obama is surveying rebuilding efforts after last month's tornados in the region.
  • An emergency vehicle makes is way past a rising moon as it travels along a burned-out hillside near San Marcos, Calif., May 14, 2014.
/

Severe weather wreaks havoc across the country

Updated

Heavy snow, massive floods, sweltering heat. What’s next, locusts?

From storms in Colorado to wildfires in California, severe weather has wreaked havoc across the United States just this month alone.

This week, more than 11,000 homes and businesses were ordered to evacuate in San Diego County as wildfire spread rapidly due in part to the Santa Ana winds. Dangerous drought levels and hot weather have severely affected the state. This year, San Diego has only received 2.8 inches of rain, less than half of average, according to the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, trees bloomed in Colorado last week, as they should in May, only to be topped with heavy, wet snow flakes. A Mother’s Day spring storm in the Rockies caused power outages and road closures. And it’s not over yet. Four-to-9 inches of snow is expected in the Denver and Boulder areas with as much as a foot of snow forecast for the foothills and mountains. 

Flood warnings were posted across the eastern United States on Thursday after a powerful storm system unleashed record amounts of rain from New England to Florida. A state of emergency was declared on Wednesday in Pensacola’s Escambia County, Florida, after being inundated by as much as two feet of relentless rain in 24 hours. 

Reacting to findings in a White House report this month detailing the severity and reality of climate change, President Obama emphasized that it is “not some distant problem of the future.”

“This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now,” he told NBC News’ Al Roker. “Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires – all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak.”

The report outlines how climate change is ultimately draining water supplies, throwing off sea levels and affecting the health of millions of Americans.

 

Explore: