Currently — June 15th, 2022

The weather, currently.

The thousand-mile arc of thunderstorms that tore through the Midwest and the South on Tuesday generated at least 1.7 million lightning strikes — one of the most lightning-intensive thunderstorm complexes so far in 2022.

The excessive lightning was caused in part by the unseasonably hot temperatures in the Midwest right now, and a very humid late spring atmosphere that caused these thunderstorms to tower in height. Lightning is caused by the friction between ice crystals amid the strong vertical winds inside a thunderstorm, and generally the bigger the thunderstorm is, the more lightning it can produce.

This week’s storms also produced a long-lived series of strong wind gusts called a derecho, with winds as high as 98 mph (158 kph) in Fort Wayne, Indiana — generating briefly apocalyptic conditions. Similar thunderstorms are possible again Wednesday evening in Wisconsin as the major heat wave continues.

—Eric Holthaus

What you need to know, currently.

We have a story up today from Currently’s Anna Abraham on apartheid’s lingering effects on the climate crisis in present-day South Africa.

“In present-day South Africa, the richest 20 percent control 70 percent of the country’s resources. Despite making up a meager 7.7 percent of the population, white people own a huge chunk of the most productive farmland. And this racial segregation, as established by apartheid, is still alive and well in South Africa, playing a big role in determining who can access economic opportunities. This also makes poor Black and colored communities more vulnerable to climate disasters.”

Read the full story here!