By Pat Kessler


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hurricane Dorian is bearing down on the East Coast Wednesday night, after leaving behind massive destruction in the Bahamas.

The National Climate Assessment, or NCA4, was released last year and predicted the kind of historic devastation we’re seeing now.

READ MORE: What’s The Difference Between Climate And Weather?

Scientists say human-caused climate change did not create Hurricane Dorian, but there is evidence climate change made it worse.

In fact, the NCA4 found a 40-year increase in the “intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes,” and that is ,”projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.”

But it’s not just about East Coast hurricanes. The NCA4 is a sobering look at what could happen all across the United States if there is no action to mitigate climate change, including dire warnings about the Midwest and Minnesota.

Temperatures will rise more in the Midwest than anywhere else. Minnesota’s frost-free season could soon increase by 10 days, 20 days by mid-century, and possibly 30 days in 50 years.

Here’s how that looks:

Minnesota Frost-Free Season Extended

  • 10 Days: 2016-2045
  • 20 Days: 2036-2065
  • 30 Days: 2070-2099

Farm Production

By 2036, heavier rainfall, extreme heat and disease could cut farm production to 1980s levels.

Forest Threat

Minnesota’s traditional forest line will shrink. Paper birch and black ash trees could disappear.

Infrastructure Repair

Cities face costly repairs from extreme rainfall and more flooding.

Fish Risk

Higher temperatures will put coldwater fish at risk.

Health Danger

The report predicts “substantial” loss of human life every year from poor air quality and “extreme high temperature events.” Urban heat islands like the Twin Cities will see more 100-degree days. And by mid-century in northern Minnesota, temperature swings could bring blocks of extreme average summer highs — of 95 degrees.

READ MORE: Reality Check: Minnesota’s Changing Climate

NCA4 predicts that Minnesota will be among the few places in the country where “the value of warmer winters outweighs the cost of hotter summers.” As a result, more people may move here.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

NCA4: The Midwest

NCA4: Changes In Hurricanes

NCA4: Recent U.S. Temperature Trends

ScienceDirect: Geographic Dimensions Of Heat-Related Mortality In 7 U.S. Cities

Pat Kessler

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