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As Climate Change Worsens, Is North Carolina Prepared For More Intense Storms?

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Last month, a massive snowstorm in Texas left millions without power and roughly 15 million residents without water. Nearly a dozen people died due to hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, it was potentially the most expensive natural disaster in the state’s history, blowing past the $125 billion in damage from Hurricane Harvey.

From Hurricane Hazel to Hurricane Florence, North Carolina is familiar with extreme weather. And climate change is making matters worse: in 2020, the state had its second-wettest year on record and tied for its third warmest. North Carolina also recorded its warmest 10-year span on record between 2009 and 2018, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information and North Carolina State University.

As climate change causes more damaging weather patterns, from snowstorms to dry spells, everything from electrical grids to our water systems are being put to the test.

As experts examine what went wrong in Texas, we sit down with a panel to take a deeper look into the Carolinas' infrastructure to see how we would handle a similar crisis.

GUESTS

Jeremiah Johnson, environmental engineering associate professor at North Carolina State University

Nelson Peeler, senior vice president at Duke Energy

Ron Hargrove, deputy utilities director for Charlotte Water

Dante Miller joined WFAE as a Report for America Corps Member in 2020 as part of a unique partnership with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Digital Public Library of America. Her work allows her to use radio, online stories, Wikipedia entries and events to meet the community's news and information needs.