Brazil cyclone, Europe flooding, another Earth heat record: What to know in extreme weather now

Residents walks amid destroyed houses after floods caused by a deadly cyclone in Mucum, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. An extratropical cyclone in southern Brazil caused floods in several cities. (AP Photo/Wesley Santos)

Families perched atop houses pleading for help to escape the deadly flooding after a cyclone hammered southern Brazil, with the region's governor calling it “an absolutely out of the ordinary event.”

The world's latest extreme weather disaster killed at least 31 people and left at least 1,600 homeless, authorities said Wednesday. The scope of the damage was enormous: Rio Grande do Sol Gov. Eduardo Leite said it was his state's highest death toll from a climate event, with “entire cities that were completely compromised.”

The toll included at least 15 bodies in a single house.

Flooding also wracked Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria on Tuesday, fed by fierce rainstorms and killing at least seven people. The toll included at least two in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, where streets and homes were flooded in two neighborhoods.

Here’s what else is happening related to extreme weather, climate and the environment right now:

—The World Meteorological Organization announced another heat record in a year full of them: Earth sweltered through its hottest Northern Hemisphere summer ever measured. Scientists blame human-caused climate change, along with the natural El Nino phenomenon.

Tropical Storm Lee was moving through the open Atlantic and expected to become a hurricane as it nears the Caribbean. In the Pacific, Jova had grown into a Category 2 hurricane far off the southwest coast of Mexico.

—The first African Climate Summit ended Wednesday with a call for world leaders to rally behind a global carbon tax on fossil fuels, aviation and maritime transport, and it seeks reform of the world financial system that forces African nations to pay more to borrow money.

—In sub-Saharan Africa, clean electricity from solar is catching on in several large countries. Much of it is off the grid, meaning the solar powers a handful of buildings but isn't part of a larger system.

—Environmental groups are suing the state of Utah over management of the Great Salt Lake, saying officials have pushed it to the brink of collapse by allowing upstream water to be diverted to farmers for decades.

Crab fishermen in Alaska have been scrambling to stay afloat after two years of the Bering Sea fishery being closed or severely curtailed due to plummeting crab numbers. And they’re concerned that more of the same awaits this October when officials decide on catch limits for the upcoming season.

—Good news for salmon lovers: The last wild Atlantic salmon that return to U.S. rivers have had their most productive year in more than a decade, according to a count in Maine, raising hopes they may be weathering several ecological threats.

—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is delaying plans to tighten air quality standards for ground-level ozone — better known as smog — despite a recommendation by a scientific advisory panel to lower air pollution limits to protect public health. The decision pushes an update of one of the agency's most important air quality regulations beyond the 2024 presidential election.

Tennis players at the U.S. Open, where Wednesday's highs were expected near 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius) seek relief from heat via ice-stuffed bags or from cold air blown through tubes on the sideline. An Associated Press analysis found the average high temperatures felt during the U.S. Open and the three other major tennis tournaments steadily have gotten higher and more dangerous in recent decades, reflecting the climate change that created record heat waves around the globe this summer.


“It does feel like and probably will continue to feel like we’re just hopping from one emergency to another based on climate change." — Jared Meyers, a resort owner whose locations include four in Florida. Meyers is among small business owners who have had to deal with extreme weather — and he fears hurricane intensities are getting worse.


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