Currently — July 27th, 2022

The weather, currently.

A new all-time daily rainfall record was set in St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday morning — in just seven hours.

The St. Louis airport recorded a stunning 8.06 inches (205 mm) of rain between midnight and 7 a.m. on Tuesday, about as much rain as the city normally gets in the entire month of July and August combined. That total was enough to beat the 24-hour rainfall record for St. Louis set in August 1915 in the aftermath of a hurricane.

Based on a stationary climate, this kind of rainfall is expected to occur less than once every thousand years in St. Louis. Of course, the climate is no longer stable.

This kind of rainfall is far beyond anything St. Louis is accustomed to, and has caused widespread flooding, power outages, and disruptions to everyday life across the region. Over the past 70 years, as climate change has warmed the atmosphere and allowed it to absorb more water vapor, the frequency of heavy rains in excess of one inch have doubled in St. Louis.

More heavy rain is on the way across the Ohio Valley on Wednesday from Missouri to Kentucky and West Virginia.

—Eric Holthaus

What you need to know, currently.

The U.S. will plant 1 billion trees across the millions of acres of burnt and dead forests in the American West, the Biden administration announced on Monday.

This announcement is the latest in forest regeneration efforts by the federal government. In April, the President signed an executive order to protect old-growth forests. In August, the nation signed on to an effort to plant 1 trillion trees worldwide.

Unfortunately, not much action-based change has taken place, as the Biden administration continues to toy with the notion of declaring a climate emergency, which could potentially lead to more national efforts to tackle climate change.

In the meantime, as climate change continues to scorch woodlands, the Department of Agriculture has led reforestation efforts by using funds from the bipartisan Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees Act as well as the bipartisan infrastructure law.

So far, wildfires have decimated 5.6 million acres in the U.S. this year. Some forests naturally regenerate after fires, but, because of human-induced climate change, the wildfires have become more frequent and severe, leaving forests barren for decades before they can start to sprout back up. This replanting plan could change things, as it will nurture forests’ natural regeneration, mitigating the effects of climate change and making them more resilient to threats of wildfires and drought.

The Forest Service expanded their reforestation funds up to about $100 million. The agency also plans to plant about 400,000 acres of forest annually, particularly in the West, where wildfires continually rage.

—Aarohi Sheth