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Cities Brace for This Season's Colliding Climate Disasters

May to October has become known as the “danger season” — when the US is most at risk of experiencing back-to-back climate disasters like heat waves, wildfires, drought and storms.

Mud outside a house after Hurricane Delta made landfall in Cypremort Point, Louisiana, U.S., on Oct. 11, 2020. Delta weakened to a tropical depression as it moved inland over northeastern Louisiana, knocking out power lines and drenching an area that was still recovering from the onslaught of Hurricane Laura.

Mud outside a house after Hurricane Delta made landfall in Cypremort Point, Louisiana, U.S., on Oct. 11, 2020. Delta weakened to a tropical depression as it moved inland over northeastern Louisiana, knocking out power lines and drenching an area that was still recovering from the onslaught of Hurricane Laura.

Photographer: Bryan Tarnowski/Bloomberg

As summer in the US approaches peak wildfire and hurricane seasons, with above-normal activity predicted for the latter, experts worry that persistent heat waves can pack a deadly one-two punch as they coincide with extreme storms and severe droughts. 

Such a threat played out in August 2020, when a heat wave blanketed Louisiana right after Hurricane Laura hit, leaving residents in 100-degree Fahrenheit weather without power. Of the 31 storm-related deaths reported, eight were “heat-related” and nine were due to carbon monoxide poisoning, likely from a generator. Then in October, as parishes were barely recovering in the sweltering heat, Hurricane Delta came barreling up the Gulf Coast.