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2020 climate disasters in 50 photos

  • Record-breaking temperatures in California

    Visitors walk near a sign warning of extreme heat danger on Aug. 17, in Death Valley National Park, California. The temperature reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit at Death Valley National Park on Aug. 16, hitting what may be the hottest temperature recorded on Earth since at least 1913, according to the National Weather Service. Park visitors were warned to “travel prepared to survive.”

  • Typhoon Higos hits Shenzhen Guangdong

    Dark clouds hang over the skyline as Typhoon Higos approached on Aug. 18, in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China. The storm crippled all forms of transportation in the area, including local road, air, water and rail traffic.

  • LNU Lightning Complex Fire in California

    Burned out vehicles sit under a damaged tree at a residence in Vacaville, California, during the LNU Lightning Complex fire on Aug. 19. California was in a state of emergency that day as dozens of fast-moving fires, many triggered by lightning strikes during an extreme heat wave, spread across the north and center of the state, threatening homes and causing the evacuation of thousands of people.

    About 20 fires broke out in the area of Vacaville in the northern Bay Area and collectively called the LNU Lightning Complex Fire after the intense lightning storm that sparked the conflagration earlier in the week.

  • Record-setting fires in Brazil’s tropical wetlands

    Out of control forest fires burn the area of the Brazilian Pantanal in rural Pocone, Mato Grosso, Brazil, on Aug. 19, in the largest fire ever recorded in the rich biome. The Brazilian Pantanal—one of the largest tropical floodplains in the world—has been suffering since the end of July with the worst wildfires in its registered history. More than 22% of the floodplain has already burned.

  • Widespread flooding in Pakistan and India

    A girl carries a tea kettle as she wades through a flooded street after heavy record-breaking monsoon rains devastated Pakistan’s port city of Karachi on Aug. 25.


  • Grizzly Creek Fire in Colorado

    Smoke from the Grizzly Creek Fire blankets Glenwood Canyon and Interstate 70 on Aug. 26, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The fire, at over 50% containment, burned more than 30,300 acres and forced a two-week closure of Interstate 70.

    The closure of the interstate, which serves as a main highway between the Western Colorado Rockies and Denver, harmed businesses and the tourism industry as no traffic was able to pass into Glenwood Canyon. Wildfires that burned across the state contributed to air quality warnings.

  • Hurricane Laura makes landfall in Louisiana

    People trying to reach their homes in Cameron Parish drive past downed power lines after the passing of Hurricane Laura south of Lake Charles, Louisiana on Aug. 28. At least 26 people were killed by Hurricane Laura in Louisiana, but the governor said on Aug. 27, that the most powerful storm to make landfall in the U.S. state in living memory did not cause the “catastrophic” damage that had been feared.

  • Super Typhoon Haishen hits Japan

    Waves crash on the coast as Typhoon Haishen approaches Makurazaki, Kagoshima Prefecture on Sept. 6. Typhoon Haishen headed toward southern Japan, with officials warning of record rainfall and winds strong enough to snap power poles and flip vehicles.

  • California’s Sierra National Forest burns

    A community of forest homes lies in ruins along Auberry Road in the Meadow Lakes area after the Creek Fire swept through on Sept. 8, near Shaver Lake, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in five California counties after record heatwave temperatures fueled numerous wildfires over the Labor Day weekend. The state of emergency applied to Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.

  • Bobcat Fire burns in California’s Angeles National Forest

    A Coulson 737 firefighting tanker jet drops fire retardant to slow the Bobcat Fire at the top of a major run up a mountainside in the Angeles National Forest on Sept. 10, north of Monrovia, California. The state’s wildfires that had already incinerated a record 2.3 million acres this year and more are expected to continue until December. The Bobcat Fire grew to about 100,000 acres, and was 6% contained.


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