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Extreme heat fuels storms, fires and floods as virus rages

Extreme heat fuels storms, fires and floods as virus rages

Far from slowing the transmission of the coronavirus, summer has coincided with an explosion of the disease.

It comes as a string of disasters associated with unusually high temperatures threaten to propel the contagion.

Ill-timed reopenings across the country have spurred a return to mass gatherings in bars, restaurants and gyms. Coupled with inconsistent mask mandates, a nationwide testing backlog and a lack of federal guidance on containing the virus, infections are surging across much of the nation.

As the pandemic rages, the dog days of summer have added an onslaught of extreme weather- and climate-related events to the mix. Wildfires, hurricanes and heat waves across the country are threatening public health, homes and infrastructure at a time when mass evacuations carry the added risk of infection.

It's a reminder that disaster season can compound the effects of other national emergencies — and that climate change is progressively sharpening the threats.

Tropical Storm Isaias made landfall in North Carolina on Monday night as a Category 1 storm. It moved rapidly up the coast, bringing strong winds, heavy rains, tornadoes and flash floods throughout much of the Mid-Atlantic.

Isaias was the ninth Atlantic storm to be named this season, and the earliest ninth storm on record. It's the continuation of an unusually busy start to hurricane season, likely driven in part by abnormally warm ocean waters. Last month was the most active July for hurricanes on record.
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