Washington, D.C. — Extreme weather and record-breaking storms driven by climate change were unrelenting during 2020, causing billions in damages, burning millions of acres, and killing hundreds, according to a compilation released today by Climate Power.

That destruction was felt throughout Michigan, as the state faced historic flooding, which took a steep economic toll amid the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data draws a painful picture of the harm of 2020. In May, record rain fell across Central Michigan. This extreme rainfall dealt a disastrous blow to already crumbling infrastructure, causing two dams to fail near Midland. The dam failures caused catastrophic flooding and displaced roughly 10,000 residents – all while Michigan was suffering one of the worst waves of the pandemic. All in all, the flooding resulted in $200 million in damages to more than 2,500 buildings, including $34 million in damages to public buildings, such as schools and government buildings.

Extreme heat also plagued Michigan, part of a worldwide trend driven by climate change. According to a statistical analysis done by NCEI scientists, 2020 is very likely to rank among the three-warmest years on record. September 2020 was the hottest September on the globe in 141 years of record keeping.

“Michigan’s extreme flooding, and the infrastructure’s inability to withstand the powerful impacts of climate change, was a grim glimpse into our future if we fail to take bold, immediate climate action. The relentless severe storms and extreme heat impacted every Michigander, with Black and Brown communities facing disproportionate harm,”  said Meghan Schneider, a spokesperson for Climate Power 2020. “If we do not act now, the climate disasters we saw in 2020 will be our new normal — the consequences of which will be catastrophic.”

Below is a snapshot of the climate crisis and its toll on Michigan’s communities and across the country this year. You can see a full month-by-month list of climate events from 2020 HERE