Currently in Chicago — May 16th, 2022

The weather, currently.

A cooler and quiet week

Takeaways for Chicago's weather:

1. Week Begins Breezy

2. Wet At Times Wednesday

3. No 90s Through The Weekend

Plenty of sunshine and quite a bit of wind too for Monday.  Winds will gust to 30 mph as highs hit the middle 70s.  Cooler pattern kicks in for Tuesday and Wednesday as highs slip back into the 60s with 50s along the lakefront.  Scattered showers on Wednesday and just a few on Friday but the rest of the week should be dry. Warmer again by the end of the week with highs near 80 degrees. No sign of any record breaking heat like we saw last week.

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Tim McGill

What you need to know, currently.

Yes, the megadrought in the American West and Southern California is still ongoing. Page, Arizona could lose its city’s water supply if water levels in Lake Powell, which is now just 24% full, drops too low; the water levels of Lake Mead in Nevada, which supplies water to over 40 million people in seven different states, have dropped so far that it’s coughing out skeletons; wetlands are drying and the fish wildlife are in danger.

But, all is not lost. Southwest cities like San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas are adapting— and even thriving— amid the drought, strategizing new ways to conserve and source water, according to reporting by Yale Environment 360.

They’ve replaced their lawns with native vegetation to reduce their environmental footprint and support native animals, implemented water recycling and installed low-flow plumbing fixtures.

Communities are slowly, but surely piecing together a resilience to the risks they’re facing with climate change and the aridification of North America. As water scarcity intensifies and these cities’ populations continue to increase, they’ve still been able to adapt. So much so, that they’ve been able accommodate population growth, while reducing their water use and in turn, separating the need for more water from growth.

For example, San Diego has a water conservation plan dating back to the nineties. According to Yale Environment 360, the city’s water use dropped from 81.5 billion gallons in 2007 to 57 billion gallons in 2020 and nine cities surveyed in the Colorado River Basin lowered their water demand between 19 and 48% from 2000 to 2015.

The city requires water-saving technology and paid homeowners to replace their water-greedy yards with water-efficient landscaping.

Similarly, homeowners in Phoenix have ripped out water-greedy shrubbery from their lawns, resulting in a drop in water use.

While the only long term solution to fight the climate crisis is to eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels. These mitigation and resilience building solutions are hopeful and a necessary piece of the puzzle.

— Aarohi Sheth