Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bumpy, Booming Labor Day Weekend Weather

Severe storms and floods are
possible in parts of the nation
for the rest of the holiday weekend.  
Around 4 a.m. this morning a bright flash and the CR-R_RACKKK BOOOMM!!!!! of a close lightning strike woke me up at my St. Albans, Vermont house.  

That was the signal that for many parts of the nation, the rest of the Labor Day weekend will be stormy in many parts of the country. Especially today.

Two areas are being watched the most closely. The Storm Prediction Center says the most likely target for big storms runs from central Kansas up through Nebraska, Iowa and on into Minnesota.

There is some threat of a few tornadoes, especially in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, but the biggest danger is from huge hailstones and damaging winds in this region.

The Storm Prediction Center has a lesser, but still real chance of severe storms from southwestern New England into the Mid-Atlantic states.

On Monday, the threat of severe storms will shift into Missouri, Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Again, big hail and strong winds are the main threat.

Even in areas that won't get classic severe storms, there is the threat of torrential, even flooding rains today. Where I live in Vermont, the storms are unlikely to be severe, but some storms will produce an inch or two of rain in a very short period of time.

Luckily, it's been a bit on the dry side lately, so around here, there won't be much flooding, except for those streets in urban centers such as Burlington, Rutland and St. Albans that sometimes flood in those towns get bullseyed by a particularly hard storm.

Elsewhere, flash flood watches are for parts of Kentucky and Tennesee. They've had quite a bit of rain there, and heavy downpours are likely today.

Southwestern Louisiana is also under a flood watch.

On the bright side, hurricanes often threaten the U.S. East Coast this time of year. There's none of that this year. There is no chance of a tropical storm or hurricane hitting anywhere in the United States over the next few days.

In almost all the areas that I've said are threatened by storms or flooding, the whole day won't be a washout. There will be dry periods to enjoy the late summer outdoors. Just be ready to move inside at the drop of a hat, and the first drops of a downpour.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fittingly, A Maybe Last Surge of Summer Warmth For Labor Day Weekend

Some of the leaves on this sugar maple tree in
my St. Albans, Vermont yard are already starting
to turn. Fall is coming.  
It hasn't exactly been the hottest summer ever in the eastern two thirds of the United States, though the West Coast has certainly been torrid enough.

It hasn't exactly been The Year Without A Summer, either, as in most places, temperatures have averaged near to only a little below normal.

We've had (almost) our share of summer, which is a good thing.

In the aforementioned eastern half of the nation, summer will make one of its final stands during the Labor Day weekend, which is fitting, since it's unofficially the close of summer for many people.

The warmth and in many cases the humidity will last into next week.

There have been unsettling signs of fall lately. Unsettling, at least, for people who like nice long summers and have an aversion to cold weather.

It snowed on Pikes Peak yesterday. which isn't THAT unusual. But still.

Where I live in Vermont, yesterday wasn't exactly cold, but mostly cloudy skies, a stiff north wind and temperatures that sank into the 60s during the afternoon certainly felt like autumn.

It didn't help that some of the more sickly sugar maple trees in my yard have started to turn color.

Up here in Vermont, we call those kind of conditions "Fair weather." Not because it's fair and sunny. It's because county and state fairs have their peak season in late August.  Often, those who go to these fairs enjoy weather that's not quite as warm as it is in the height of summer, but not quite as chilly as autumn, either.

So we call conditions on days like yesterday fair weather. Yep, add "fair season" to the other miscellaneous seasons we have up here, like foliage season and mud season.

But, as I said, autumn isn't winning yet. Where it's not that warm in the eastern half of the nation, it will become so. We won't be breaking any records, but it will definitely be great for you warm weather fans.

Unfortunately for some of us who wilt in the humidity, it will be muggy all the way into the Great Lakes and northern New England.

And many of these areas won't have wall to wall sunshine, either. Thunderstorms and showers are a good bet over the weekend, especially along the Gulf Coast and in the Great Lakes Saturday, and in a band from the southern and central Mississippi Valley to New England Sunday.

In most of those places, it won't rain constantly over the weekend, but the threat for showers and storms, some with heavy rain, will be there much of the time.

And as I said, it will definitely be humid. That'll curl your hair.

Eventually, autumn will win out. So savor these last few summer days.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Latest Scary Flood Targets: South Korea, Bangledesh, Omaha

Flash flooding in Korea this week.  
As many of you have noticed, I'm calling this the Summer of Big Floods and the trend continues worldwide.  

One of the scariest recent incidents happened this week in South Korea, where severe flash flooding killed at least five people.

An occupied bus was swept away, and reports are at least one person aboard the bus was killed and four are missing.

Watch the scary footage:

Here's more video of the South Korea flood. I'm not sure why people are carrying umbrellas as they wade through chest deep waters, but whatever:

Meanwhile, flooding in Bangledesh has left half a million people homeless. The flooding could get worse this week as high water pours into the capital city of Dhaka.

In the United States, local flash floods continued this week in the Desert Southwest, and the Central Plains are bracing for flooding rains today and tomorrow, and possibly beyond.

Forecasts call for up to three inches of rain in the next 24 hours in Nebraska, and six inches or more in parts of Iowa over the next few days.

I'm very reluctant to blame every single extreme weather event on global warming, but in general, the hotter the global atmosphere, the more likely local extreme rainstorms are.

So this plethora of big floods that seemingly crop up somewhere every day is consistent with a warming planet.  This flooding summer is just a little more evidence that the experts were right about climate change.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tornado Season Past, But That Doesn't Mean We Won't Get More Tornadoes

A tornado near Gilman, Minnesota on Sunday.  
It's late summer, so the spring and early summer tornado season is gone.

So we don't have to worry about twisters, right?


There are fewer tornados in the United States once we get into August and beyond, but that doesn't mean we're in the clear.

True, the average number of tornadoes in the United States falls from about 240 in June to 74 in September and down to 24 in December. But any tornado can be dangerous, and they can form any time of year.

Strong cold fronts this time of year can help produce tornados, although the outbreaks aren't nearly as widespread as they are in the spring.  Minnesota just got hit by a tornado on Sunday.  

We're also getting into hurricane season.  Once a hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall, the storms can generate tornadoes even days after they hit shore. That's particularly true if the dying hurricane interacts with other weather fronts or disturbances. interact with other weather disturbances, or t......

Then in October and November, the large scale storm systems get stronger as we head toward winter. That can create a secondary tornado season in the United States, but one that's not nearly as big as the one in the spring.

One ingredient in the formation of tornadoes is the strong spring and early summer sun that can destabilize the atmosphere to help supercell storms to form. That strong sun is missing in November.

But on a few occasions, as was the case in a big tornado outbreak last November 17,  a storm can overcome the lack of heating from the sun and cause a nasty round of twisters.

Below is a video of the tornado in Minnesota last weekend.

In the video,  I bet the occupants of the house in the foreground at about 45 seconds in were REALLY glad the twister was barely able to miss them, instead of scoring a direct hit.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Guy Runs Into Giant, (Possibly Fake) Strong Dust Devil Just Because

An Austrailian guy ran into this strong dust devil just
because. (Although the whole video might be
fake, you never know with the Internet)  
I'm not sure if I would have done this:

A guy in a viral video from Australia supposedly ran into a large dust devil just so he could take a selfie in the whirlwind.

Dust devils are generally much, much weaker than tornadoes. Usually, they're caused by strong sun heating the ground, causing updrafts. Sometimes a light wind will set the updraft spining, and you get a dust devil.

They're much smaller scale than tornadoes and winds in dust devils are almost always not enough to cause much damage.

But sometimes, they get strong and can cause damage or at least create danger.  In rare cases they can have winds of over 70 mph.

And the dust devil this guy runs into looks pretty strong.  A disclaimer though: This video might be fake. It was uploaded by the same guy who uploaded another viral video of somebody supposedly fighting off a shark in the Sydney, Australia harbor.

Yeah, I'm suspicious.

But whether the video is fake or not, I'll use this as a public service announcement: Dust devils are fun, and you can probably run into one and be OK. But be careful with the strong ones. They can hurt you.

You can watch in the video below:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tropical Storm Cristobal Officially Forms, U.S. Hit Getting Unlikely

As of Sunday morning, most of the computer
models take Tropical Storm Cristobal away
from the United States.  
As expected, an area of stormy weather has strengthened into Tropical Storm Cristobal, which was packing 45 mph sustained winds early this Sunday morning.  

It was moving slowly northward through the Bahamas and is forecast to keep strengthening as it's being fed by very warm ocean water.

Tropical storms and hurricanes LOVE very warm water. That's a key ingredient in making them go stronger.

However, even hot water won't do any good if there are strong, shifting winds above and near the system.  That's called wind shear

In Cristobal's case, there's not enough wind shear to block it from getting stronger. It'll probably become a hurricane in the next two or three days. That's the bad news.

The good news, at least for the United States, is it's beginning to look less likely that Cristobal will hit the coast. There's still some uncertainty, so it's not time to totally relax yet. But most of the computer forecast models take Cristobal more toward the northeast away from the United States.

A little trough of low pressure is moving off the East Coast, and that will probably help nudge Cristobal away from the U.S., says the National Hurricane Center.

Extreme Weather Worldwide: Fatal Japan Landslide,Mexico Hail, Genoa Waterspouts, More....

Landslide destruction in Hiroshima. Photo
from Mainichi.  
It's not just the United States that have had wicked bad storms this summer. Many spots around the world are getting hammered.

The worst of the recent storms hit Hiroshima, Japan, last week, where at least 39 people died when record rainfall, to the tune of eight inches in just a few hours, triggered a huge landslide that slammed into a crowded neighborhood. 

The area around Hiroshima is prone to landslides, since there's lots of steep, unstable mountain slopes there. Continued heavy rain in the area is making search and rescue really difficult.

Last weekend in Mexico City, the problem was hail. an incredible amount of it.

Hat tip to Capital Weather Gang for the alert on the Mexican hail which piled up to two or three feet deep in some sections of the city especially where rainwater washed the hail into  huge piles.  We were left with the odd scene of what looked like people shoveling heavy snow in Mexico City in August

Here's a video showing the deep hail, and flooding caused by the Mexico City storm. (Then scroll down for more more wild world weather below the video)

In Italy, the problem was tornadoes and waterspouts.

There was a spectacular waterspout off of Genoa, and here's a surveillance camera video of a tornado hitting an Italian beachfront cafe.

Probably not a good day for a nice cocktail on the beach:

Earlier this month, it was Germany's turn to have tornadoes and severe weather, as we can see in this video:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cool Image: Weather Radar Catches HUGE Flock of Swallows

That half circle shaped "shower" in the middle
of this weather radar image is not rain, but tree swallows.  
In the radar loop in this post, taken a few days ago, you see, if you look closely, a few showers trudging slowly southeastward near Niantic, Connecticut.

Then what's that?  What looks like another shower abruptly forms in the center of the screen, near Old Lyme, Connecticut, expands and flies super fast westward and dissipates.

Now THAT'S some weird weather!

Or not. That slow shower near Niantic was rain, for sure, but that weird westward moving image in the radar is a big, big, big flock of tree swallows taking off

The flock was so big weather radar picked it up.

My understanding is the sheer number of these tree swallows is absolutely spectacular. There's even an outfit called Connecticut River Expeditions which will take you out there this time of year to watch the show. Tree swallows congregate by the millions in the lower Connecticut River  basin in late August and September.

Watch. It's pretty cool. Especially for us weather geeks:

Almost A Sure Bet That Tropical Storm WILL Form

As of Saturday morning, most computer forecasting
models likely take what is to become Tropical
Storm Cristobal into Florida the southeastern U.S., or
recurve it out to see to totally miss the U.S.. Stay tuned.  
That area of storminess in the Caribbean that the National Hurricane Center has been watching for the past few days looks like it will turn into a tropical storm, or maybe eventually a hurricane.

As expected, the storminess is getting better organized, but still hadn't formed a real circulation, the kind you get in a true tropical storm. That will likely happen today or tomorrow, says the Hurricane Center.

So where will it hit. First of all, remember the outcry last week over that obnoxious weather enthusiast, named K-Mart (yeah, I know) who started a panic because he was posting images that suggested a major hurricane would wash New Orleans away?

Everybody piled on that guy for being a dufus and trying to cause a false panic, and it's looking like everybody, including The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, the National Hurricane Center and most legitimate forecasters were right to do so.

It appears unlikely this wannabe storm, which would be named Cristobal, will go into the Gulf of Mexico, though a few outlying computer forecasting models still take it there.

Instead, there's an excellent chance it will go through at least part of the Bahamas. I bet they'll issue tropical storm warnings or watches for at least parts of the Bahamas later today or tomorrow.

Then what? Again, nobody's sure. As I noted the other day, forecasts for hurricanes and tropical storms  for several days in advance are pretty unreliable.

However, the best bets are it will either touch the southeastern United States coast, or recurve off to the northeast, going out to sea and not bothering anybody after harassing the Bahamas.

If I were a betting man, I'd say it'll go out to sea and pretty much miss the United States,  but definitely DON'T take my word on that bet. There's more than enough uncertainty in the forecasts to still keep an eye on this sucker.

Nobody is really sure how strong the tropical storm or hurricane will be by the time it gets near the coast, or doesn't get near the coast.

A few notable and destructive past hurricanes, like Betsy in 1965, developed rapidly once they reached the Bahamas like this one will, but many other storms in that region didn't amount to much. Again, just stay tuned and we'll know more in a couple days.

So, if you live in an area between Miami and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, I'd definitely pay attention to forecasts for the wannabe Cristobal, and act accordingly if forecasts indicate it will head toward you.

But I wouldn't head for the hills quite yet.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Extremely Cool Time Lapse Of Storm Over Missouri

Monday evening's storm loom over Ferguson, Missouri.
The storm was partly credited for calming down protests
in the town over the police shooting of an unarmed
black teenager.  
For fans of weather porn, the viral video in this post hits the spot.

It's a great time lapse of a strong thunderstorm moving over the St. Louis suburbs the other night.

(Weather porn, for the uninitiated, is video or images of really big, bad storms, so the video in this post is definitely SFW)

The storm also hit troubled Ferguson, Missouri, where there have been sometimes violent clashes between protestors and police over the past two weeks.

The storm briefly disrupted demonstrations, and is said to be partly responsible for interrupting things long enough to slightly reduce tensions there.

The really cool time lapse video is below:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

No, New Orleans (Very Likely) WON'T Blow Away In A Hurricane Next Week

That disorganized blob of clouds northeast
of South America might, or might not turn into
a hurricane. And if it does, nobody yet knows
where it would go.  
A few of the more sensationalistic weather watchers out there are telling us that a huge, major hurricane will trash New Orleans at least as badly as Katrina did back in 2005.

If there are any readers of this in New Orleans or anywhere along the Gulf of Mexico, take a deep breath and relax.

Disaster is definitely NOT imminent.

There IS a chance of tropical trouble in the Gulf next week, but it sure as hell isn't time to head for the hills.

Already, the panic mongers are out.  Shore News Today in that region of the world already has an alarming headline: "First 2014 Land-Falling Hurricane Could Target New Orleans."

First of all, even if there WERE a hurricane making landfall next week, it would be the second one of the season. Arthur hit North Carolina back in early July.

And we really have no way of knowing where the hurricane will go, if it forms at all. True, one computer model brings a strong hurricane near New Orleans, and several bring something, I'm not sure what, into the Gulf of Mexico next week.

But other computer models say no tropical storm or hurricane will form. Or it will head to Mexico. Or somewhere on the U.S. East Coast. Or somewhere out to sea without touching land.

You see, computer models are notoriously bad at predicting where a potential hurricane will go, and how strong it might be, when the storm hasn't even formed yet.  The models are also lousy at predicting what will happen a week from now.

(They're much better at forecasting stuff that will happen one, two or three days from now. And yes, I know some of the models got Hurricane Sandy in 2012 right a week ahead of time, but that was just a lucky break)

In other words, nobody knows what the hell is going to go on yet. So chill.

My advice: If you're that interested in whether there will be a bad storm in the Gulf of Mexico, keep checking with the National Hurricane Center, because they are tracking an area of disturbed weather that will head into the Caribbean in the next couple of days.

That's the system that the fearmongers say will blow New Orleans away and drown it.

It's also the system that might not develop into anything at all. Or drift harmlessly out to sea. As of Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center gave the disturbance a 50/50 shot of developing into a tropical storm over the next five days. 

So you can see how the panic bloggers are wrong to tell us that New Orleans is definitely going to drown again.  Or they are at the very least wayyyyyy too confident in their forecasts.

Anyone on the East Coast from Brownsville, Texas to Eastport, Maine should have their usual hurricane season stuff ready to go in case something happens between now and November, which is the aforementioned hurricane season.

But unless they issue a weather alert, tropical storm watch or hurricane watch where you live, just check into the Hurricane Center, or your favorite reputable weather blogger or television forecaster. (Very good sources (other than me!)  include Weather Channel, WeatherNation, Capital Weather Gang and Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground) We'll fill you in on what's going on.

And if you hear about the Coming Hurricane Apocalyse from some unknown source, just double check elsewhere. You really CAN'T believe everything you read on the Internet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Watch A Flash Flood Roar Into Traffic On An Arizona Interstate Today

In a still from ABC 15 in Phoenix, flash flood water
cascades into traffic on Interstate 17 north of Phoenix.  
Incredible flash floods are hitting Arizona today, another salvo in what I'm calling the Year of the Flash Flood

Arizona has flash floods during the late summer rainy season every year, and this year the state has had more than usual.

But today's flooding is way beyond what they normally experience. I'm sure some rainfall records were set in parts of the state.  

The United States as a whole has not been particularly wet this summer, but it seems almost every single day, there's an extreme rain storm, and big time flash flooding.

Other flood alerts and warnings have been issued today for parts of Nevada, Utah and Michigan.

But it was Arizona that really got it.

Today, up to eight inches of rain has fallen in some towns in Arizona. There have been dramatic helicopter rescues from homes and cars caught in the sudden, unprecedented flooding.

News helicopters showed one couple being rescued from a house in the middle of a raging torrent. It looked like the house was THIS CLOSE to washing away.

Arguably the most spectacular incident in the Arizona flooding so far today looked like something out of  a cheesy Hollywood disaster movie.

The storms are still ongoing in Arizona, so more destructive floods will continue into this evening, I'm sure.

In the video below from ABC 15 in Phoenix, we have a rush of water hitting traffic on Interstate 17 north of Phoenix. The quality of the video isn't the best, but it is still out of this world amazing. Fast forward to just after the one minute mark to see:

Here's what it looked like from inside one of the cars on Interstate 17. The dark storm clouds in the background probably made people think, with good reason, it was going to get a lot worse.


July Was "Only" Earth's Fourth Warmest

Pretty much the only cool spots on Earth in July
were central Russia and the central United States.  
The National Climate Data Center came out with its monthly analysis of the earth's climate this time for July, and concluded it was the fourth warmest on record.    

This follows May and June, which the Data Center said were the hottest on record, so I suppose we had a cooling trend in July.

I say that facetiously, of course. July continued the strong trend of ever warmer months on earth.

There hasn't been a cooler than normal month on the Earth overall since February, 1985. And each month so far in 2014, with the exception of February, has ranked in the top four warmest on record.

Of course, different organizations have different ways of taking the Earth's temperatures, and you end up with subtle differences. Depending upon who you ask, July was actually the second warmest, fourth warmest, fifth warmest or 11th warmest.

Those differences don't matter so much, since the spread in measurements is in tiny fractions of degrees. Everybody pretty much agrees. It was hot times on Earth in July, 2014.

There were exceptions, of course.

As it's been for last year, an area of North America centered around the Great Lakes bucked the trend and was cooler than average. That's been consistently going on all year, as weather patterns have been strangely "stuck" with a big hot ridge on the West Coast, where California has had by far the hottest first seven months of any year in 2014.

There's been a corresponding big dip in the jet stream in the center of the continent which keeps bringing repeated bouts of cool air in.

The East Coast has been cool-ish all year, too. In St. Johnsbury Vermont, 2014 is so far the 9th coldest on record and the chilliest since the 1920s,  mostly because of a bitterly cold late winter and early spring.  July in the Northeastern United States had temperatures that came out pretty close to normal.

Central Russia was also chilly in July. Two countries, the United States and Russia, had some reporting stations that reported the coldest July on record, and other stations within those same countries reporting the hottest July ever reported.

So there were some extremes in those two countries. No other country had any cities that reported record cold Julys, but several topped records for hottest midsummers.

The big heat winner was Norway, which by far had its hottest month ever this July, beating the old record by 1 degree Celsius. That doesn't seem like much, but in the rare event you have a hottest ever month, the record is usually broken by a tenth or two tenths of a degree, not by a whole degree. So that was impressive.

So far, 2014 is the third hottest year on record for the Earth as a whole.

It'll be interesting to see how warm the rest of the year is.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Crazy Guy Films Mexican Tornado Amid Giant Razor Blade Sheet Metal

Aftermath of Chiapas, Mexico tornado.
Note all the sheet metal that had flown around. 
A video has emerged of a tornado that struck Chiapas State, Mexico a couple months back.

Don't try this at home, kiddies!

The guy filming inside the tornado is amid flying sheet metal.

I really don't think I'd be outside with what are essentially giant razor blades flying around at 100 mph or so.

Still, quite an incredible video. Watch:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Is This One Of The First Climate Change Inspired Crime Wave?

Drought in India, possibly caused by climate change,
is inspiring new crimes by bandits.  
Last month, in drought-stricken northern India, bandits threatened to kill hundreds of villagers unless they delivered 35 buckets of water a day to them, according to the Associated Press.    

This might be among the first cases of criminals taking advantage of climate change to conduct their misdeeds.

Yes, yes, I know some activists would say some oil companies, frackers, climate change denialists and the like are criminals, but I'm not going to go there. That's a discussion for another day.

But with weather patterns changing, likely at least in part due to global warming, the monsoon in northern India isn't working as well as it should. It's way too dry up there.

Bandits lurk in hard to reach, remote places in northern India, and the criminals take advantage of their hiding places to terrorize and torture these villagers.

According to the July 21 Associated Press article:

"Since the threats were delivered last week, 28 villages have been obeying the oerder, taking turns handing over what the bandits are calling a daily 'water tax' police said.

'Water itself is very scarce in the region. Villagers can hardly meet their demand,' officer Suresh Kumar Singh said by telephone from Banda, a city on the southern border of central Uttar Pradesh state and caught within what is known in India as bandit country"

Police do see an opportunity in the drought, too. If the bandits don't get enough water from the villagers, or the supply line between villagers and the bandits are exposed, they might have to venture out to more exposed areas, where they could be caught, according to the AP article.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Flash Floods This Summer Have Been Incredible

Flooding near Islip, Long Island Wednesday.  
As I write this during my latest visit to Yankton, South Dakota, it's raining like CRAZY one state above me, up in North Dakota.    

More than five inches of rain have fallen in some areas, and it's still pouring up there. It's yet another example of a summer that has had some pretty incredible rain events.

Last week takes the cake. Especially on Long Island, where Islip had 13.57 inches of rain in one day.

Of that, 9.71 inches fell in two hours. To put that in perspective, Islip normally gets less rain than that over the course of two entire Augusts.

According to weather historian Christopher Burt, the narrow corridor of incredible rains on the East Coast is almost unprecedented. Certainly, the Islip rain was the heaviest 24 hour rainfall in New York State History.

Other areas of the East got clobbered, too. Green Haven, Maryland got 10.32 inches of rain, and Scarborough, Maine got 6.59 inches.

The rainfall rates were the big story, because in many areas, like Islip, the bulk of the rain came in two hours, three at the most. For instance, in Portland, Maine, 4.21 inches of rain fell in just two hours.

In the Northeast, rainfall in the amounts that happened in one day last week come during tropical storms or hurricanes. And it is hurricane season. However, this incredible rain had nothing to do with any tropical storm. Tropical air, yes, but not a tropical storm.

Super wet air from the tropics went up and over a weak weather front draped along the East Coast, At the points twhere the soggy, warm air had to rise over the cooler air on the other side of the weather front, the air rose, the moisture condensed, and down came the torrents.

It was also interesting to see how narrow the area of flash flooding and heavy rain was. That actually happens quite a bit in flash flood situations. One town gets blasted by the flood, and one or two towns over, there's not much to talk about.

In this case, 40 miles west of Islip, an unremarkable. 0.78 inches of rain fell during the storm. About 40 miles to the east of Islip, they only got maybe a half inch of rain. Yawn.

Damage patterns were interesting, too. On Long Island, most of the flooding was on highways and streets, and most of the damage was to cars, and some basements.

A similar torrential storm of 4.57 inches hit the Detroit area and other parts of southeastern Michigan the day before the East Coast got nailed. In the Detroit area, damage estimates are up to $1.2 billion and about 18,000 houses had flood damage, says Christopher Burt.

It all depends upon the topography, where the streams are and where the parking lots, streets and roofs prevent water from soaking into the ground.

Of course, in these extreme rain events, everybody asks if global warming has anything to do with this. Like Burt, I'm turning to Dr. Marshall Shepard, who has a great explaination about this.

Basically, he's reluctant to attribute one weather event like this to climate change, but climate change does make extreme rainfall events more likely, so we'll be seeing more of these big local flash floods.

Shepard also points out that in recent decades, a lot more urbanization with its giant parking lots, huge roofs, sprawling suburban tracts and highways mean there's too much concrete and asphalt out there to allow rain runoff to soak into the ground. Instead it pours off the parking lots and roofs and causes worse flooding.

Interestingly, social problems might have made the Detroit flooding worse, according to CBS Detroit.  The cash-strapped region had antiquated pumping stations to remove water from freeways, and thieves stealing copper pipes rom pumping stations of course made them unable to function.

So, we'll keep watching these local, devastating flash floods keep popping up worldwide. Today it's North Dakota. Who else will get washed away tomorrow.?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Flooding Socks U.S. East Coast; Threat Continues Today

A stranded motorist in Detroit Monday. 
As expected, areas of heavy rain hit parts of the nation's East as another slow moving, strangely strong (for summer) storm system lumbers through.

The Detroit, Michigan area got the worst of it on Monday with its second wettest day on record, and widespread flooding in that region.

Two people died in Detroit area during the flood, including a 100 year old woman found in her flooded basement.

Dozens of people were rescued from cars, most of the region's Interstate highways flooded and some motorists were trapped in their cars for up to 18 hours, hemmed in by flash flooding ahead of and behind them.

There was even more flooding Tuesday, especially in the Washington DC/Baltimore area.  It was hit and miss, as always. Washington DC proper only got an inch or two of rain, while the Baltimore area and nearby areas were swamped with four to eight inches of rain.

The Baltimore-Washington airport was flooded, with a lot of the cars in the long term parking lot submerged. Plenty of travelers are going to get an unpleasant surprise when they return home.

The flooding spread northward into New Jersey last night and early this morning, rainfall rates that briefly reached  up to three inches per hour were hitting parts of Long Island and Connecticut, where flash flooding was ongoing there.  
Flooded parking lots at the Baltimore-Washington
airport on Tuesday.  

The storm is actually moving a bit slower than many forecasters thought, so in some areas the rain lingered longer than hoped, making the rainfall totals go way up.

Up here in Vermont, it scarcely rained overnight Tuesday and early Wednesday, despite forecasts of heavy rain after midnight.

That's because the storm is moving slower than expected, and the rain lingered in New York State instead of blasting into Vermont.

But it'll come in today, and it will rain hard at times today in Vermont, and other areas of New England.

In addition to the flooding now going on in Connecticut and Long Island, flash flood watches are up for all of southern New England and New Hampshire, the southeastern third of Vermont and in southeastern New York State.

In southern New England, torrential areas of rain and thunderstorms are the threat. In New Hampshire and Vermont, it's very wet winds from the southeast rising up the eastern slopes of the mountains to wring out possibly enough rain to cause local flash floods.

Further north in northern New York and Vermont, it hasn't been as rainy lately as others sections of the Northeast, so the ground can absorb more of the expected moderate to heavy rain. Plus, precipitation won't come down as hard there today as it will in southern New England.

Elsewhere in the nation, flash flood watches are also up for Utah and parts of surrounding states due to possible torrential thunderstorms with the seasonal monsoon.

For the nation as a whole, this summer has really been the season of the flood. They keep hitting repeatedly, and (almost) everywhere.

To drive home the point of how dangerous flash floods can be, we have two videos. The first shows a flash flood busting down the doors of a hospital in Kearney, Nebraska last week.

The second video shows a complete moron in Colorado recently driving into flood water, with the inevitable result. Jerk. Turn around, don't drown. (Love the very end of that video with the idiot opening the car doors)  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Another Super Wet, Possibly Flooding and Chilly Storm In the Northeast

Payback is a bitch.  
A predicted rainfall map from the National Weather Service
in South Burlington, Veront shows totals
of between 2 and 3 inches in the areas shaded in red

Most of the Northeast has had a great stretch of summer weather over the past few days, but that's ending now.

Yet another strange, deep dip in the jet stream is about to cause yet another very wet, chilly storm system, and flooding has become a threat again.  

No good stretch of weather in New England goes unpunished, and this just helps prove that case.

Flash flood watches are up for most of southern New England, New Hampshire and far southern Vermont. 

The heavy rain will push west to east across New England late tonight and Wednesday. In southern New England, embedded thunderstorms could cause rain to come down at a rate of two inches per hour at times in some spots, leading to urban and small stream flooding.

In northern New England, strong southeast winds, laden with tropical moisture, will sweep heavy rain in. South and east slopes of the White Mountains in New Hampshire and the Green Mountains in Vermont, especially in the southern reaches of that state, could get some flooding.

As the wet southeast winds rise up the slopes of those mountains the rising air will squeeze out even more moisture, so heavy rain could cause flash flooding, especially along brooks and small creeks.

Many areas could get two to four inches of rain out of this. 

Northwestern Vermont will have some of the moisture blocked by the mountains, so there will be a soaking rain there, but probably not much in the way of flooding.

Those southeast winds will also cause a phenomenon most familar to us in winter, not summer. As they come over the top of the Green Mountains, the gusts will gain momentun as they come down the west slopes of the mountains.

Strong gusty winds, possibly enough to bring down a few branches, trees or power lines, could hit those western slopes of the Green Mountains on Wednesday.  This kind of set up is more common during winter nor'easters, not summer storm systems. 

We've had a lot of these weird, intense storms this summer. I'm not sure why. I guess it's the luck of the draw. 

The weather has been summery the past few days. It's August, after all. But this is the time of year where we often get our first hint that fall is coming, and we will really get clubbed over the head with that hint this week.

The worst of the rain will depart Wednesday night, but the storm that will have caused the heavy downpours will stall in Quebec.

That means cool weather. In much of northern New England, daytime highs won't get out of the 60s Wednesday through Friday. The last time Burlington, Vermont had three days in a row that didn't get above 70 was May 17-19, so there you go. 

Don't worry, this doesn't mean summer is over.  (We can ignore those few somewhat sickly sugar maple trees that already have fall colors) 

It just means the end is near, and we'd better get used to cool spells coming up as we head toward September. Still, it will warm back up into the 70s next weekend, and I'm sure we'll have a couple of warm to hot spells before summer gives up the ghost.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hurricane Bertha Was A Dud Until Remnants Hit Britain

Damage in Britain from the remnants of Hurricane
Bertha. Photo from Twitter, @HumberbeatRoads
via The Guardian 
This year's Hurricane Bertha won't be remembered much in the United States since it didn't do much of anything to the Great Old US of A.  

You probably don't remember her now, or never knew it existed.

But it did exist; skirting through the Caribbean as a tropical storm, briefly turning into a lower level hurricane north of the Bahamas last week, then pretty much falling apart.

However, the remnants hit Britain over the weekend, and they'll sure as hell remember Bertha, given the wind, severe thunderstorms, flooding and high tides Britain endured over the weekend. 

A nasty squall line in Britain Sunday
thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Bertha.  
The storm brought coastal wind gusts of 50-60 mph. Bertha brought ot some area a month's worth of rain in a day, leading to significant flooding.

Severe thunderstorms raked much of the region, toppling trees and powerlines and damaging buildings.

Major summer festivals were cancelled or postponed as well, as this type of storm doesn't usually happen in Britain during August.  

Of course, the Guardian quotes people with that famous stiff upper lip (and you can hear the wonderful British accent by just reading the quote:

"Claire Trapnell was doggedly putting out the chairs and tables outside the beachside Cove West cafe and restaurant. 'People will still come out. Look at those joggers - it doesn't put them. We're English, we're used to a bit of rain and wind. Anyway I like it when the tide is high and the waves come bashing in. It makes me as if I'm on a boat. I like boats.'"

Still, Britain's storminess goes to show you that sometimes the remnants of a hurricane are worse than the actual hurricane.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sorry, Conspiracy Theorists, But "Chemtrails" Are Not A Thing

I'm totally on with Vane, the weather page on the snarky Web site Gawker, which has been totally going off on all those people who think that chemtrails exist and the government is trying to kill us with them.

Or something.

At the risk of having a bunch of conspiracy theorists with pitchforks or spray bottles of vinegar (more on that later) come at me because they think I'm part of the conspiracy, I'm going to yell at the chemtrail believers too.


I'd better explain what this conspiracy theory is first: You know those thin white clouds or streaks you see forming behind a jet airplane as it passes overhead? Those are contrails. The hot exhaust from the jet engines hits the cold air and causes condensation. What you're seeing is a trail of ice crystals behind the jet.

These condensation trails can last from a few seconds to several hours after the jet goes by, depending upon atmospheric conditions.

We've seen these contrails up in the sky ever since there were jets.

Chemtrail enthusiasts say the you can tell many, most or all contrails are actually their beloved chemtrails, because they spread out or linger in the sky for hours, or merge with existing high clouds.

Since there can be any number of wind patterns up there where the jets fly, the wind can do all kinds of things to the condensations trails, bend them, make them much wider, intertangle several condensation trails-- you name it.

Still, a bunch of yahoos think these contrails are actually chemtrails.

According to RationalWiki, chemtrail conspiracists aren't totally sure what nefarious plot is behind the phenomenon, but top theories are it's for sterilization for genocide or population control, administration of drugs for mind control, to stop human evolution, to combat climate change.

One of the more interesting theorites is that chemtrails are designed to give Monsanto a global monopoly on genetically modified food by poisoning the environment so nothing but their seeds will grow.

Um, doesn't Monsanto already have almost a monopoly on genetically modified seeds? So why would they need so-called chemtrails.

Well, that's besides the point.

We could dismiss chemtrail enthusiasts as a bunch of tinfoil hat wackos, but too many people who should know better take this seriously for some reason.

 An Arizona State senator recently held a hearing on chemtrails in Lake Havasu City and the local paper took the foolishness seriously. 

In their article, the Havasu News actually did person on the street interviews about the subject and got responses like this:

"Jennifer Cramer of Havasu said she's noticed the "chemtrails" in town for about two years. "Every time they do chemtrailing there is some dramatic change in the weather. I noticed it this weekend and then it got very windy.....I'm not a scientist and I don't know what's in the (chemtrails) I think we have a right to know instead of worry (sic) about it every day."

Let me clue you in,  Jennifer, so you can stop worrying.  Contrails are most noticeable and tend to last longest, and spread out more when there are other high thin clouds starting to move in.

Those high thin clouds are often the first sign of an approaching storm. That's why it got windy, Jennifer. A normal, run of the mill, non conspiracy, meterological storm was probably coming your way.

So chill.

Oh, and about the vinegar: Some conspiracy theorists say you can neutralize the effects of chemtrails by spray vinegar into the air. That has led to some hilariously pathetic YouTube videos of people with plant misters spraying vinegar into the air.

There's one of those videos at the bottom of this post for entertainment.  In it, a woman is spraying vinegar into the air with a plant mister, and is convinced she is making the "chemtrails" disappear. (The contrails disappear on their own, you moron!)

The best line in the video is when you hear her teenage son say, resigned: "We are NOT your average family."

Meanwhile, I'm sure I, and Vane/Gawker writer Dennis Mersereau would get plenty of flak and vinegar from the conspiracists. But that's part of the job, I guess.

Now, go have some vinegar with that video I promised:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hurricanes, Typhoons Keep Buzzsawing The Pacific

Incredible clouds around the eye of
Super Typhoon Genevieve. Click on the
image to make it bigger and easier
to see the detail.  
It's quite a year out in the Pacific Ocean this year for severe tropical weather.

I guess Pacific really is the wrong word to describe that ocean.

We all heard about Hurricane Iselle, which hit Hawaii as a strong tropical storm yesterday. 

It dumped up to 14 inches of rain on the Big Island of Hawaii. There's been a lot of flooding, mudslides, rock slides, structural damage from wind and trees down.

I haven't heard of any deaths yet, which is a great thing.

Then there's Hurricane Julio, which is going to harass Hawaii, but not hit it. It looks like Julio is going to pass far enough north of Hawaii to only give minor effects. Which is good, because they have their hands full with the aftermath of Iselle.

Hurricane Genevieve crossed the International Date Line the other day as it traveled west. That changed its name to Typhoon Genevieve. Typhoons and hurricanes are the same thing, they're just have different names in different parts of the world.

Genevieve became a super typhoon, meaning it has sustained winds of 150 mph or more. It looks like Genevieve is not a big threat to any land areas at the moment.

Typhoon Halong was trashing southwestern Japan as of Saturday, with severe flooding in that part of the country.  The area had already been hit by torrential rains and typhoons, and the flooding from Halong is expected to get extremely scary, and turn into among the worst Japan has seen.

Rain was reported falling at a rate of three to four inches an hour in some places.

Not good.

Friday, August 8, 2014

More On Those Photogenic Thursday Skies

The first good thunderstorm of the day blossoms
over Lake Champlain, west of South Burlington
Vermont late Thursday morning.  
Thursday was arguably the best day of the summer for sky watching in New England, especially for weather geeks.

We had the perfect combination of a lack of haze for good visibility, and lots of rapidly developing, and rapidly disappearing showers and thunderstorms, which made for a sky you could watch and see change from one minute to the next all day.

You might have seen my post from last night that showed a small cloud turning into a thunderstorm within 20 minutes.

Some of the storms were briefly strong, producing some hail and gusty winds, but this wasn't a widespread severe outbreak.  Still, there were several reports of quarter sized hail in southern New Hampshire and coastal Maine, and Saratoga County, New York got hit with damaging winds.
Smaller clouds being drawn
up at an angle into the top
of a larger storm around noon Thursday
in western Vermont.  

There was a pool of cold air high overhead in New York and New England. The contrast between the upper level cold, and the heated ground from the warm August sunshine between the clouds, kept the storms churning all day.

There wasn't much humidity in the air, so the downpours weren't super intense, though a couple places got a fair amount of rain because they were hit repeatedly by storms.

Still, you could watch the storms blossom, then, given their lack of moisture supply, you could watch them rain themselves out and dissipate just as fast as they could form.

It was so hit and miss. While working outside in South Burlington, Vermont yesterday, I saw a storm blossom and start heading toward me. I could see the downpour gushing from the base of the cloud.

But as the storm got near, it rained itself out. There were just sprinkles where I was.

When I drove two miles down the road a bit later, you could see lots of puddles and mini-brooks running along the curb, a testament to the heavy downpour the brief storm created.
A late day thunderstorm greets commuters along
Interstate 89 in St. Albans, Vermont Thursday.  

The cold air pool high above us is moving away now.

We'll get some great weather the next few days in New England: Sunshine, warmth and humidity that's reasonable. Great for the beach or whatever else you want to do outside this weekend.

If you're looking for one of those "wait a minute and the weather will change" days, like yesterday, it ain't happening.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cold Air Aloft Over Vermont Makes Clouds Blossom Super Fast and Beautifully

Cloud at 1:08 p.m.  
Northern New York and much of New England had lots of scattered showers and thunderstorms today as cold air aloft, combined with warm summer sunshine heating the ground, caused an atmospheric temperature contrast.

That contrast helped the storms blossom.

A few were severe, with fairly large hail, but the overwhelming majority of the thunderstorms were the garden variety type.

But many of them developed fast. Super fast

Same cloud, much bigger at 1:18 p.m. 
The three photos in this post are of the same cloud, taken at 1:08 p.m., 1:18 p.m., and 1:29 p.m. this afternoon, looking toward the northwest from South Burlington, Vermont.  

As you can see the cloud grew fast. (By the way, I don't think the cloud even existed before about 1 p.m.)

By the time the second photo was taken, the cloud was beginning to produce lightning.

By the time the last photo was taken, it was a full fledged thunderstorm.

Same cloud, bigger still, and a now a thunderstorm
at 1:29 p.m.   
But within a half hour after the last photo was taken, the thunderstorm had rained itself out.

The cycle repeated itself all afternoon. Storms blossomed, got briefly intense, then disappeared only to be replaced by new storms.

At least it made the sky pretty.

Hawaii Braces For Rare Hurricane, Another One Will Then Harrass State

Hurricane Iselle spinning toward Hawaii yesterday.  
Hurricane Iselle was still making a beeline for the Big Island of Hawaii Thursday morning, and it could become the first hurricane on record to hit that particular island in the Hawaiian chain.

Hurricane Julio is coming right behind Iselle, but it looks like Julio will curve north of the islands, but will probably come close enough to cause some more wind and more flooding

That two tropical systems would threaten Hawaii in one week is unprecedented, notes Mashable.

Hurricanes thrive on warm ocean water, and die when the water gets cooler.

Hawaii is normally sort of protected by normal ocean currents that keep the water surrounding the island kind of on the cool side. So hurricanes usually, but not always,  die before they reach Hawaii.

Ocean temperatures in much of the Pacific Ocean, including in areas near Hawaii, are warmer than average, which gives tropical storms a kick in the pants to stay alive.

In fact, the forecast with Iselle kept getting worse over the past few days.  As Iselle headed toward colder water, it was expected to weaken into a tropical storm. But shifting winds in the upper atmosphere that usually tear hurricanes apart didn't materialize yesterday, so Iselle actually strengthened a bit.

Now, it's entering cooler water and those upper level winds, called shear, are starting to affect Iselle. It may or may not be a hurricane by the time it reaches the Big Island, but whether it is a hurricane or just close to it is just a matter of semantics.

Since Hawaii doesn't usually get such strong winds, trees and structures aren't able to withstand winds of 50, 60, 70, or 80 mph like in some other areas of the United States. So wind damage might be worse than if it hit, say, Florida, where there are somewhat stronger building codes.

Or, buildings that were up to code in Hawaii might have issues nobody knows about because there hasn't been strong winds in such a long time.

The rain is going to cause flooding too. Water will rush down the steep slopes of the islands. They're expecting 5 to 8 inches of rain in many areas, with some spots reaching a foot. The flash flooding and landslides might be terrible.

As I said, this might end up being the first time the Big Island of Hawaii, the easternmost one, is hit directly by a hurricane.

More western islands in Hawaii, where the water temperature is a little warmer, have been hit by hurricanes before.

The most noteworthy was Iniki in 1992, which hit the island of Kauai with 140 mph winds. It killed six people and caused widespread damage.

Here's a video of Iniki lashing Kauai Island in Hawaii in 1992. It's from a Discovery Channel show called "Destroyed in Seconds." After the narrator sets up the scenario, things get scary 45 seconds into the video:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Pyrocumulus Clouds" Are Dramatic, Beautiful And Products Of Disaster

Hat tip to the Capital Weather Gang and the National Weather Service office in Medford Oregon for giving us these incredible, wild photos of something called pyrocumulus clouds.

The photos were taken by the Oregon Air National Guard. 

As Capital Weather Gang notes, pyrocumulus clouds form the way most clouds do: Via an updraft.

In this case, heat generated by a large forest fire forces air to rise. The rising air, like it often does when it heads upward, causing what moisture there is in the air to condense into clouds.

And sometimes it doesn't take a huge amount of moisture to make clouds. Pyrocumulus clouds have more of a gray color than do regular cumulus clouds, the kind of puffy cloud you often see on a summer day, because pyrocumulus clouds are full of ash.

As a lot of people noted on the National Weather Service/Medford Facebook page, the incredibly awesome clouds are a testament to a disaster happening on the ground.

They're huge clouds in those photos, produced by a huge wildfire that has so far burned more than 36,000 acres.

The fire was started by lightning, which is another hazard of pyrocumulus clouds. They can grow into big thunderstorms, which produce lightning strikes that can set off new fires.

The fire causing this was about 65 percent contained as of Wednesday morning. Let's hope the weather cooperates and they can get this fully under control.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer Doldrums Contribute to Local Flash Floods

A flash flood in Jericho, Vermont in July, 2013.  
Flash flood warnings have sprouted in various sections of the country over the past few days.

We're in the peak of the season of slow moving thunderstorms. Those storms can drop major rains in a short time in local areas.

Yesterday in San Bernardino, California, flash floods and debris flows caused by slow storms caused by seasonal monsoons killed one person and stranded many others.

Flash flood warnings popped up occasionally in small areas of Pennsylvania and New York Sunday under some storms. And this morning, far northern New Hampshire and a piece of western Maine is under a flash flood warning as slow moving downpours hang out in that region.

In the height of summer, upper level winds are often slack, much lighter than they are at other times of the year. When thunderstorms form, the lame high level winds mean there's not much to push them along, so they sit over one area, dumping their rain until creeks and streams become torrents.

In the grand scheme of things, thunderstorms usually don't cover a large area. So very often in these situations, one town might have huge trouble with raging waters, while the next town three miles up the road stays totally dry.

I noticed here in Vermont that radar estimates indicate at least an inch and a half of rain fell in parts of the northeastern parts of the state, while less than a tenth of an inch had fallen in places like Burlington in western Vermont.

In the Northeast, upper level winds will pick up a little today and tomorrow ahead of a cold front.  While there will be more thunderstorms, at least they won't stay over one area too long, minimizing the flood threat.

Not so in the deserts of California, Nevada and Arizona, and on up into Utah and southern Idaho. In that region, it doesn't take a huge amount of rain to set off some flooding.

More slow moving, torrential storms are likely in that region today, meaning more flash flooding is a good bet.

On the bright side, some areas of southern California and Arizona have seen enough rain to put a teeny, tiny dent in the ongoing, severe drought out there.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Worldwide, The Weather Extremes Continue

Two guys build a snowman over the weekend near
Ballarat, Australia. Photo by Ian Currie/Herald-Sun
Now's a good time, on a nice slow weekend, to catch up on the weather extremes gripping other parts of the world lately.

As usual, it's pretty extreme in spots.

In Italy, at least four people died when a flash flood swept through a festival site near Venice, the BBC reports.  Several people were swept away while in their tents or cars. Some people clung to trees during the flood and survived.

Down in Australia, they just had a relatively rare bout with snow and cold.

In the high elevations outside of Sydney, Australia, it snowed in the past few days.  The Blue Mountains do get snow from time to time in the Australian winter, which is now. Temperatures reached near record lows in some areas of Australia with this latest cold front.

The cold front that caused the snow also packed high, damaging winds, thunderstorms, sleet and a deep chill, according to the Herald Sun of Australia.  The high temperature in Melbourne Friday was 50 degrees, only the fourth time since 2000 the temperature stayed that low there.

This cold isn't unprecedented in Australia, but since they've had record warm temperatures consistently for the past year and a half, this chill must have come as a shock.

In the Pacific Ocean, Super Typhoon Halong is now packing 160 mph winds, and could cause a lot of trouble in southern Japan or maybe Korea later this week. Conditions along the storm's expected path are good for the typhoon to remain strong.

A program note: When there's a big typhoon in that part of the world, a sharp cool snap often follows in the central and eastern United States a week or two later. That happened twice in July after huge typhoons hit the western Pacific ocean area.

Japan has had enough problems lately. Last week, a torrid heat wave in Japan killed at least 15 people and sent about 8,600 to hospitals. Temperatures there exceeded 95 degrees, and the humidity was killer. Korea is experiencing a torrid heat wave, too.

England just endured its 8th hottest July since 1910, and the heat has been interspersed with severe storms and flooding. The heat is fading now, but local flooding is expected to continue.

Meanwhile, in Instanbul, Turkey, the problem was a tornado and other severe weather that passed through the other day.

Here's a video of the tornado and downpours in Instanbul:

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Video Shows Tornado Blasting Store, Then Stunned Survivors

A surveillance video surfaced last month taken inside a store in that town in Nebraska that was hit by double tornadoes in June.

The video shows the store blasting apart, then people slowly emerging closets and such where they took shelter  to see what happened.

They look stunned, as anybody would be.  Amazingly, nobody was hurt in this store.

Here's the video:

Friday, August 1, 2014

W. Va. Congressman At It Again: Tries To Block Federal Agencies From Factoring in Climate Change

David McKinley is at it again.
David McKinley seems to
think if we pretend something
doesn't exist then, POOF! it's gone. 
He's the  U.S. Representative from West Virginia who proposed a measure that would    stop the Department of Defense from considering climate change while making its strategic plans.

After all, if climate change ultimately causes conflicts, refugee crises and unstable governments, why should the Department of Defense be ready for it? Who cares if such things threaten U.S. security?

As a March Pentagon report states, "poverty, environmental degradation, political instability and social tensions ... can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence."

I guess if we pretend climate change doesn't exist, and that it would never cause any problems, we can just ignore it, right?

Now, McKinley has promoted a bill that would block two key U.S. government agencies from factoring climate change into their decisions, according to the Charleston, (W.Va) Gazette.

He seems to think that if he blocks U.S. agencies from gathering the facts about issues like climate change, the problem will go away.

McKinley's latest masterpiece would prohibit the U.S. Department of Energy and the Army Corps of Engineers from using funds to "design, implement, administer or carry out specified assessments regarding climate change."

He's continuing his rich tack of using fact-free political ideology to say government agencies shouldn't plan for climate change because that very idea is political ideology.

Don't believe me? I'll quote McKinley:  "With all the unrest around the (world) why should Congress divert funds from the mssion of our military and national security to support a political ideology?"

Yeah, like the sea level is rising a bit and the weather is getting more erratic because Mother Nature is a flaming liberal who wants to stick it to conservative Republicans.

Some conservatives say they're not scientists, so they won't try to understand what climate scientists are saying. I'm not a scientist, either, but when I don't know about something and need to find out, I go to the experts.

When I had a recent illness, I went to a doctor who specializes in the problem I had, and I'm much better now.  Had I pretended the illness didn't exist, I would have gotten sicker and sicker until my ailment was harder if not impossible to treat.

In other words, I consultant an expert. And no, there's not some grand conspiracy among climate scientists hoaxing us on climate change. If there were such a hoax, some loudmouth would have spilled the beans right now. (And, no offense to you scientists, but there's plenty of loudmouth scientists out there.)

Luckily, the Senate, at least in its current configuration, would never pass McKinley's measures so tey wil die.

And that's good, since the Department of Energy is heavily involved in dealing with climate change, says the Charleston Gazette article.

I'm sure much of McKinley's motivation is to protect the coal industry in West Virginia. I don't like to see coal miners lose their jobs, either. But maybe it's time to spend government time and energy re-training them for better, safer jobs and stop just making things up to suit your political viewpoint on climate change.

Of course, maybe if McKinley stops blowing hot air, global warming might slow a bit.