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 Pennsylvania, as the state faced severe storms and record heat, which took a steep toll on residents’ health and the state’s economy. 

The data draws a painful picture of the harm of 2020. In August, Tropical Storm Isaias caused widespread damage and power outages in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. In total, Isaias caused $4.5 billion in damage and an estimated 16 deaths across the East Coast. Pennsylvania also faced damage and power outages from a derecho that affected large parts of the U.S. In addition to severe storms, Pennsylvania tied for its hottest July on record.

Pennsylvania was not the only state plagued by extreme heat. 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. The same is true for NovemberApril and May 2020 both tied previous temperature records.

“Pennsylvania’s severe storms and scorching heat were a grim glimpse into our future if we fail to take bold, immediate climate action. The relentless storms and extreme temperatures impacted every Pennsylvanian, 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 Pennsylvania’s communities and across the country this year. You can see a full month-by-month list of climate events from 2020 HERE