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Currently — July 8th, 2021

Currently
The weather affects everyone, and it’s something that brings us all together. Currently is a weather service — a community of people sharing resources and delivering justice, hope, connection, safety, and resilience in a world in urgent need of systemic action.

The weather, currently.
More than a foot of rain has fallen in the past 36 hours in parts of the Middle Texas Coast, and another several inches are probably on the way. The flooding that’s underway has been concentrated in an area of coastline between Rockport and Victoria, where persistent bands of rainfall have been coming ashore from the Gulf. Flooding there has now reached the stage of a flash flood emergency, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Technically, this system is called a mesoscale convective vortex — not a tropical storm or hurricane, but potentially just as damaging if it lingers over one area for more than a day or so, like this one has. Basically, it’s a spinny thing in the atmosphere that has gotten stuck, in this case, directly over the Gulf Coast and drawing loads of tropical moisture northwards onto land.
Assuming a stable climate (which isn’t a good assumption) an analysis of past rainfall statistics shows that this severe of rainstorm would be expected on this stretch of the Texas coast only once every 25-50 years. But in honesty, I’ve lost count of how many 12-16"+ rainstorms have plagued Texas over the past few years. There’s a reason that middle Texas is known as “flash flood alley”: Fast urbanization, combined with hilly topography, combined with a warming Gulf of Mexico and intensifying rainstorms makes for a bad combination. In just the past five years, Texas has seen six federal flooding disasters — not counting any of the hurricanes.
On Twitter, meteorologist Molly McCollum got it right: “A storm does not need a name to be a big deal.” — Eric Holthaus
What you need to know, currently.
Currently spoke with Yinka Bode-George, the environmental health manager for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, which is focused on engaging state lawmakers around environmental policies with a lens of environmental justice. 
Bode-George spoke about how climate change exacerbates the cumulative impacts of environmental injustices. She says legislators are finally connecting these issues and writing legislation that addresses cumulative experiences instead of focusing on siloed individual issues. 
“I attribute this to the Black Lives Matter uprising last summer, so more folks, I think for the first time, recognize how interdisciplinary these issues are,” said Bode-George. 
As an example, she referenced the COVID-19 crisis and how it disproportionately affected already marginalized communities because of environmental factors. 
“We’re not just talking about COVID, we’re talking about how folks had air pollution in their communities pre-COVID that created susceptibilities to COVID,” said Bode-George. 
Bode-George says that as climate change and extreme weather events persist environmental health challenges are going to worsen. Just to name a few of the issues, Bode-George mentioned; asthma, housing inequities and extreme heat. These all pose health challenges, particularly to the most vulnerable communities, and will worsen as climate change persists. 
“Name your issue, the climate crisis exacerbates it. And it’s devastating,” said Bode-George.
Fortunately, on the state level, many legislators are working on bills that systematically address environmental justice issues. Here are a few of them. — Abbie Veitch
‎People Places Planet Podcast: Groundtruth: State Stories – Passing Environmental Justice Legislation on Apple Podcasts
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