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Daniel Swain in ABC News — From the Atlantic hurricane season to wildfires in the West: How 2020 weather shattered records

This year became one for the record books for yet another reason: The turbulent weather of 2020 smashed numerous records, from storms to wildfires to heat waves.

California’s massive fire activity can be linked to the Southwest drought that’s been ongoing for roughly two decades, according to Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA.

“The summer itself was one of the driest and hottest on record in a lot of the interior West,” Swain said. “The monsoon, which would normally bring summertime thunderstorms, was essentially a no-show this year. There was almost no precipitation in those interior states.”

The record warmth in the interior desert expanded to California and Colorado, Swain said, and when a lightning outbreak hit California in the late summer, “that’s when things really exploded out West.”