Friday, October 31, 2014

Snow To Slam NC, VA Mountains, Maybe Downeast Maine

There might be scenes like this by Saturday
in the high elevations of North Carolina, Virginia
and Tennessee as winter storm looms.  
As I said yesterday, most of the Northeast is going to escape the full effects of a nor'easter that could have dropped a lot of snow on a lot of real estate this weekend.

It'll be too far out to sea to cause more than snow flurries, gusty north winds and a pre-winter chill.

However, some areas are still going to get slammed by snow.

The worst of it will hit the mid and high elevations of western North Carolina, western Virginia and eastern Tennessee.

A strong weather disturbance, a key ingredient that will set off the big ocean storm that's going to get going off the coast, is blasting southeastward from the Great Lakes with a package of cold, and rising air currents that will give rise to precipitation.

That means it's going to snow like hell as the disturbance passes over the middle Appalachian mountains. There's still a lot of leaves on the trees in many of these places. So the snow will cling to the leaves, weighing down the branches, snapping them and also taking power lines down with them.

If you want an idea of how nasty a snowstorm can be when leaves are still on the trees, just think back to the New Jersey, New York and the southern half of New England back in October, 2011 for an idea.

That 2011 storm cut power to 3.2 million people, some for as long as 11 days.

Tonight's Appalachian storm won't be nearly that widespread, but you get the idea.

The storm will then get cranking big time as it heads northeast, well off the Eastern Seaboard. It will hook close enough to the coast of Maine so that maybe the Downeast part of the state will get three to six inches of snow out of this.

The mountains of northern Vermont, northern New Hampshire and western Maine still look like they're in for one to three inches.

After that, windy and chilly, but mostly dry in most of the nation's eastern half by Sunday.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Snowstorm In New England? Forgettaboutit!

That storm that threatened snow in northern New England this weekend
now looks like it will miss. There will be flurries around
but it definitely won't end up looking like this.  
Snow fans might be disappointed but it looks like northern New England is NOT going to get a snowstorm this weekend after all.

There will be a giant, strong nor'easter, but it will be too far off the coast to cause much else besides chilly, gusty north winds and flurries.

It won't necessarily be a nice weekend across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Temperatures will be below normal, the sky will be cluttered with quite a few clouds, especially on Saturday, cold north winds will blow and there will be bits of rain and snow here and there, and a light accumulation in the mountains.

In other words, a typical November-like opening to the month of November.

Don't worry, though, snow lovers. I think there's PLENTY of chances of additional storms between now and March.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Still Uncertain, But Backing Off A Bit On New England Weekend Snow

It's still looking like northern New
 England is in for some snow this weekend, but
the chances of a huge dump have
diminished a little.  
Latest forecasts trends as of early Wednesday morning hint that a storm that will get going off the East Coast this weekend might pass far enough east to limit snowfall in New England.

That said, the upper level disturbance that would consolidate and create the storm are still far away, and it's still possible a nor'easter could hit.

No matter what happens, it still looks like enough cold air and moisture will be around to dump a few inches of snow on the high elevations. The valleys are looking a bit iffier.

The ocean storm that is expected to form off the Middle Atlantic coast could hook back to the left somewhat once it reaches the Gulf of Maine, and that would throw some steady snow back into Maine, northern New Hampshire and roughly the northeastern half of Vermont. It's still too soon to tell for sure.

I'm still betting that most of us in northern New England, including those of us who live in the warmer valleys, will see at least the first snowflakes of the season between Saturday and Sunday.

As I said yesterday, it is that time of year when you start to see snow, so we shouldn't be all that surprised.

If the more likely scenario comes true, with lighter snows, that's a yawner. Typical New England in early November. If that coastal storms hooks westward, which is possible but less likely, then things could get interesting by Saturday night and Sunday.

Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Yep, It Will Probably Snow in Vermont, Rest of Northern New England This Weekned.

It'll probably snow in New England this weekend, but
in most places, I doubt it will be as bad as
in this photo 
It's been a really nice autumn in northern New England. It's been on the warm side. This past weeks's gloomy weather notwithstanding, it's been kind of sunny. Very pleasant.  

Now it's payback time.

It seems like it's getting more and more likely places like northern New York, much of Vermont, northern New Hampshire and much of Maine could get an accumulating snow this weekend.

That's true even in the valleys.

It's still questionable how much snow will fall in New England.

It seems like the European computer forecasting models are the most bullish on snow in the region, especially in eastern Vermont, northern New Hampshire and a good chunk of Maine.

That's because the European models bring a coastal storm northward, just off the coast, which would give a good slug of moisture along, especially in the eastern half of New England.

It's too early to talk about accumulation, but the National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont says if this were to play out, there wouldn't be much snow from the Champlain Valley westward, but amounts would increase rapidly as you head east from there.

The National Weather Service in Gray, Maine is still understandably hedging its bets on how much snow might fall, considering the huge uncertainty on how strong the coastal storm will get, or even it it forms at all.

But the thinking is going that enough cold air will be around that snow could fall and accumulate all the way east to coastal Maine.

American forecasting models have a weaker system off the coast. But there would be weather disturbances around, plus more than enough cold air to drop an accumulating snow, especially on top of, and along the western slopes of the mountains.

Here's an excerpt from the NWS Burlington forecast discussion this morning: "Too early for accumulations but I would have the rock skies on standby this weekend...if you are looking for the first turns of the season along the spine of the Green Mtns from Jay Pay to Mansfield To Killington."

Look, I'm not inducing snow panic (or joy in some cases) here, mostly because there's no reason to panic. Yeah, it seems early to have snow on the ground before you've had a chance to rake the leaves, but this kind of weather isn't unheard of on or just after Halloween.

It's happened before. And earlier than in this potential snowfall.

For instance: On October 4, 1987, up to 18 inches of snow clobbered Vermont, not to mention the Capital District of New York and parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. It was peak foliage season, and all that snow stuck to the leaves that were still on the trees.

The result was major forest devastation, lots of power failures, blocked roads and a zillion stranded fall foliage tourists.

On Nov. 1, 1993, Burlington, Vermont had 7.7 inches of snow.

The average date of the first one inch snowfall in Burlington is November 17. It's unclear if even that much will fall this weekend there, but if it does, it's only two and a half weeks early. Not that extreme.

In any event, if it does snow it won't last. It's early. Plus long range weather outlooks give us a pretty decent warmup next week.

It might be time to put the snow tires on right now, but don't expect continuous perfect sledding until spring. You'll still have your chance to rake leaves.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Storm Roundup: Australia Lightning

Lightning in Melbourne, Australia over the weekend.
Photo by Ian Ranson via Melbourne Herald Sun.  
The weather is relatively quiet in the United States at the moment (with some storminess in the Pacific Northwest, and a weekend of record heat in the Southern Plains.)

But, as always, its been active in other parts of the world.

There was an incredibly lightning display in and around Melbourne, Australia over the weekend.

The storm disrupted train service, flooded streets and cut power. Lightning strikes also disrupted train service and set at least one house on fire around Melbourne.

Here's a compilation of some photos taken during the storm:

Remember Hurricane Gonzalo? That was the hurricane that trashed Bermuda a couple weeks ago.

Gonzalo's remnants has since been on a world tour, causing stormy weather, coastal flooding and high winds in parts of Britain, then moving on to central Europe, where it dumped some heavy mountain snow.

The remnants of Gonzalo settled into Greece over the weekend, producing this flash flood in Athens:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Video: Really Bizarre Little Tornado In India

What appears to be a very skinny weird "landspout"
tornado in India.  
A video turned up on YouTube that showed what appears to be a strange little tornado in India.

It takes the form of a little cylinder, about as big in circumference as a person.

It could be just a dust devil, but judging from the clouds overhead, I really do think it's a small tornado. The headline on the video calls it a landspout, and that's probably a fair description.

A landspout is indeed a tornado, but they form differently, and usually look different from the funnel or wedge-shaped tornadoes that you commonly see in storm videos.

Unlike a typical tornado, which lowers from the base of a storm until it reaches the ground, a landspout usually starts to form near the earth's surface, or a few hundred feet up, then extends upward toward the thunderstorm clouds.

Landspouts usually get going when shifting winds merge near a developing thunderstorms. When the boundaries of shifting winds collide, sometimes they start to swirl.  If the swirl is under the thunderstorm, it could eventually make a connection with the clouds overhead.

At that point, a landspout tornado is borne.

Landspouts are usually weaker than tornadoes that form from supercell thunderstorms, the ones that form in the clouds and then extend toward the surface.

But anyway, here's the video. It is a strange one:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cut Down The Amazon Forest And You Make Sao Paulo Run Out Of Water

The Jaguari Reservoir near Sao Paulo looked
pretty full in this satellite image from 2013
From Earth Observatory.  
Sao Paulo, Brazil, South America's largest and richest city, is about to go broke in one respect: Unless they get a bunch of rain soon, they're going to totally run out of water.

Brazil is having a big drought. Some of it is probably due to natural cycles in the weather and climate. Some of it probably has to do with global warming altering weather patterns.

But according to Reuters, another culprit causing the drought is probably the idiots cutting down all the trees in the vast Amazon jungle.

Trees emit oxygen, which is great since we need it to breath. But they also emit water vapor. Lots of it.

The same reservoir is pretty much dried out
in this recent satellite image from
Earth Observatory.  
That's one reason why it often feels damp or humid in a forest. Since there are zillions of trees in the Amazon, or at least there was, a lot of water vapor came from that forest.

"Humidity that comes from the Amazon in the form of vapor clouds - what we call 'flying rivers' - has dropped dramatically, contributing to this devasting situation we are living today,' said Antonio Nobre, a leading climate scientist at INPE, Brazil's National Space Research Institute.

What Nobre is saying is a lot that moisture the Amazon trees were belching out blew toward Sao Paulo.

The humidity often helps form showers, rain and storms that kept the Sao Paulo metro area and it's 20 million people nice and hydrated.

Deforestation is increasing in the Amazon again, jumping 29 percent in the 12 months ending in July, 2013, the last available year of record. It was the first increase in deforestation since 2008.

They're cutting down so many trees in the Amazon to make room for cattle ranches, industry, dams and development. Regulation isn't always so great in the region,  as you can tell, so greed often trumps conservation and sensible planning.

The drought is really screwing up Brazil. In addition to the looming water crisis in Sao Paulo, exports of key crops from Brazil like coffee, oranges, soybeans and sugarcane are down.

For now, all they can do in Brazil is pray for more rain. And pressure agribusiness and industry to stop cutting down the Amazon trees.

"What's happening now highlights the importance of preserving and replenishing the Amazon if we want to prevent Sao Paulo from becoming a desert," Nobre told Reuters.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hurricane Blasts Violently Through Hotel Lobby: Wild Video

Hurricane Odile pays a visit to
a Cabo San Lucas hotel lobby back in September.  
Powerful Hurricane Odile slammed into the area around Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in mid-September with 125 winds. The resort was really totally trashed.

The Holiday Inn Express hotel in Cabo San Lucas was among those damaged.  A surveillance camera captured the chaos.

In the video below, the calm eye of the storm is passing over Cabo San Lucas. The hurricane has already damaged the lobby, as you can see.

Then the eye passes, and suddenly the hurricane's 125 winds slam through the lobby, and all hell breaks loose.

Here's the incredible video:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rare Tornado Hits Longview, Washington (Photo, Video)

Damage from a tornado that hit
Longview, Washington today.  
New England wasn't the only place in the nation having stormy weather today.

The town of Longview, Washington was hit by a rare tornado today. It ripped roofs off buildings, toppled trees and power lines  and scared quite a few people, but luckily nobody got hurt.

Television station KOMO said the tornado was on the ground along a path of up to a mile in Longview and Kelso. The two communities are in southwestern, near the border with Oregon and not far from Portland, Oregon.

National Weather Service meteorologists were on their way to Longview to assess the strength of the storm.

If I had to guess based on video of the twister, I'd say it was a low end EF1, meaning it had winds of 86 to 110 mph, probably closer to 86 mph. We'll see what the experts say.

Washington State averages two tornadoes a year.

This is the second time this month the state has had a tornado scare.

Tornado warnings went up in parts of the Seattle area on October 11 when a waterspout touched down off Anderson island. The waterspout never made it to shore and there were no injuries and little if any damage with that storm.

Here's a video of the Longview tornado as it blew right across the street from the person taking the video. A voice heard in the video says they shouldn't be near windows. They were right, but in this case, the people near the windows didn't have to contend with shattering glass.

Satellite Glitch Might Mean Weather Forecasts Not That Accurate

Some satellite data isn't coming in due to a glitch,
but at least this visible satellite image of
a nor'easter in New England, taken this afternoon,
is up to date.  
Those computer models that help meteorologists make weather forecasts depend upon a wide variety of data, including information from satellites.

Some of that information has stopped coming in due to some sort of glitch reports the Capital Weather Gang, the weather blog for the Washington Post.

It's unclear how weather forecast accuracy might decline, if at all, but it seems the longer the glitch goes on, the worse it will get. But nobody's expecting forecasts to be completely boffo, or totally wrong.

A lot of wags say weather forecasts are always screwy anyway, and that meteorologists are paid good money to be wrong all the time, but that's just not true.

I hate to be defensive, but forecasts, at least a day or two out, have a better than 80 percent accuracy rate, which is great for such an inexact, complicated science.

According to one researcher, the National Weather Service is generally the most accurate, and the least accurate are television meteorologists, but they do a pretty good job, too.

Still, as Capital Weather Gang and Eric Holthaus in Slate note, several National Weather Service glitches lately are troubling. Some computer systems go down, and on a couple occasions prevented warnings of severe weather from being released to the public quickly.

In one case in May, a strong tornado in upstate New York went unwarned. Luckily, nobody was killed.

Most of the data is coming in as of Thursday afternoon, says the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, or NCEP, so there's varying opinions over weather forecasts will become less accurate or not this week.

But just be prepared for a bit more uncertainty for awhile, just in case.

That Nor'easter Is Stronger, Weirder Than I Thought It Would Be

Satellite view of the nor'easter all wound up
in New England.  
The nor'easter that's been hitting New England since yesterday has been full of surprises. Those surprises include the power of the storm.  

It's definitely not exactly the most extreme such storm to hit New England, but still, it's causing more problems than I thought it would.

Winds along the coast were stronger than I expected, with gusts reaching 60 mph in Hull and Scituate, Mass.

It was kind of fascinating for this weather geek to watch, on radar, last night, bands of intense thunderstorms coming ashore on Long Island and in New England.

The rain has been the worst of it. Parts of eastern Massachusetts have gotten up to four or even five inches of rain. 

That's somewhat more than what was predicted. The downpours also came in such a short period of time that the downpours caused lots of street flooding in the Boston metro area during this morning's commute.

Quite a few cars got stuck in the high water, too.  

As of mid-morning Thursday, the band of heaviest rain had moved into southern New Hampshire, central and western Massachusetts and southern Vermont.

Flood warnings are up for all of those areas.

In Vermont, they're watching the Deerfield River, which I'm sure freaks a lot of people out. That's because of all rivers, the Deerfield caused arguably the most extreme and scary floods and damage during Hurricane Irene in 2011. Nobody wants a repeat, especially in the town of Wilmington, Vermont, which was totally trashed by Irene.

This time, the flooding will be much less extensive than Irene, so I think people can relax. Just stay away from low lying roads near the river and you should be fine. And watch out around brooks and small creeks in southern Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. They can get high fast.
This boat got washed ashore in Massachusetts
by the nor'easter hitting the region.  

I think the street flooding has been made worse in many cases because of the time of year the storm hit.

Leaves are just falling from the trees. Those leaves probably clogged storm drains, so the water had no place to go, except onto streets and into cars along those streets.

It seems like the nor'easter consolidated itself more than I thought it would, concentrating its power, at least last night and this morning, in southern New England.

Here in northwestern Vermont, we were expecting a steady, cold light rain yesterday afternoon and it didn't materialize. (Allowing me to get some outdoor work done, Yay!)

That nicer than expected weather in northern Vermont might have partly a product of that nor'easter focusing more to the south.

I can tell you right now it's not nearly as pleasant in northern Vermont as it was yesterday, and it's going to stay icky. Here in St. Albans, Vermont as of 10:30 a.m., we had a thick drizzle, a stiff north wind probably at 15 mph and the temperature is only in the low 40s.

That won't change at all this afternoon, except the rain will probably get steadier and heavier, and the wind will increase, probably gusting to 30 mph or so.

Flood watches continue in much of eastern New Hampshire and the southern half of Maine as the nor'easter's deep moisture continues to move north.  There will be little or no flooding in northern and central Vermont because the rain won't be too, too hard. Plus, Vermont had its seventh driest September on record, so there's room for the rain water to soak in.

Coastal flood advisories are up for New Hampshire and Maine as battering waves are causing some splash over, erosion and flooded roads.

All in all, it's a pretty nasty storm. Although it has its bright side: Most of New England was dry, and this is putting a serious dent in the dryness. Too bad the rain came too hard, too fast in some areas, leading to the local flooding issues.

The weather will get a little better in New England Friday as the storm slowly chugs eastward out to sea. But conditions will remain unsettled through the weekend, as other small disturbances arrive from the north and west, especially on Saturday night and Sunday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Polar Bears, Halloween And South Florida: A Couple Of Weird Global Warming News Items

Global warming has helped change migration
routes for polar bears, prompting a Canadian town
to ban door to door trick or treating.  
Global warming, or concerns about it, keep taking on odd manifestations in the news.

Lately, I'm hearing about polar bear scares, Halloween, and maybe the 51st state of South Florida.

Let's start with the Halloween polar bears.

Way up north in Canada, in the little town of Arviat, on the cold northwest short of Hudson Bay, the kids won't be going door to door trick or treating on Halloween.

Instead of fake ghosts and goblins scaring the kids, and the whole town, it's real live polar bears.

Polar bears never used to be a problem in Arviat, although they've always lived in the region. However, there's a lot less ice near the western shore of Hudson Bay then there was years ago.

The polar bears used to migrate this time of year on that ice, because the seals they eat are on the edge of that ice. But since it's not there anymore, they migrate through, or at least much closer to the town of Arviat these days, says Eric Holthaus, writing in Slate.

Hudson Bay has warmed by about three degrees Celsius since the 1990s, and scientists blame most of the hotter Hudson Bay on global warming.

An article in Men's Journal says many people in Arviat are afraid of being mauled by these hungry bears, and there have been a number of close misses already.

From Slate:

"'Picture 1,200 kids going door to door in Arviat in the middle of polar bear season,' Steve England, the town's senior administrative officer, told the CBC. 'It's a pretty obvious conclusion of what tragedies could come out of that.'"

So, the kids of Arviat will have a Halloween party indoors at a community center this year, which frankly isn't as great in my mind as trick or treating.

Nobody will dress up as a seal for Halloween in Arviat this year, that's for sure. And it's a weird thing to say, but the town's Halloween has been cancelled, or at least modified, because of global warming.

Now, we'll leave the Great White North for the palm trees and tropical breezes of South Florida.
High tide in Miami: Sea level rise means
high tide now often reaches the streets,
 even when there is no storm.  

The city of South Miami, which is of course in South Florida, passed a resolution recently calling for Florida to be split into two states, with the nation's 51st state becoming South Florida, says the Sun Sentinel newspaper. 

South Miami's Vice Mayor, Walter Harris, said lawmakers in Florida's state capitol of Tallahassee isn't providing South Florida with proper representation or addressing its concerns when it comes to rising sea levels.

South Florida is on very low ground and rising sea levels have already started to cause flooding during normal tides. There hasn't been a hurricane there in years, so what happens when a storm surge blasts in with the higher seas?

They're going to have to figure out how to deal with rising sea levels, and some people in South Florida think the state isn't doing enough.

"It's very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean," said South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard. "They've made that abundantly clear every possible opportunity and I would love to give them the opportunity to do that."

Part of the frustration in South Florida probably has to do with Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who won't even say whether he believes humans are contributing to climate change and sea level rise. Scott is locked in a tight race for re-election against Charlie Crist, who does say humans are changing the climate and we have to adapt to the changes it's causing.

So yes, climate change is now affecting politics in any number of ways.

Like other little secessionist or state-splitting rumblings in the United States (See: California, Texas, Vermont) I don't think this South Florida idea will go far.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Magical Mount Washington Summit

What the view from atop Mount Washington was
on September 12, 2014.  
The summit of Mount Washington is usually a forbidding place: Hurricane force winds, ice, temperatures way below zero, insane wind chills, and summer snow sometimes.

On other occasions, Mount Washington is magical.

I missed it when this video came out, but back on the night of September 12, the aurora borealis were visible in much of the northern third of the United States, and other countries in the Great White North.

Atop Mount Washington, a low overcast shrouded northern New England during the early part of the evening, but the top of the mountain poked above those clouds.

So you had what is known as an "undercast" and a clear sky above the mountain.

So we get this wondrous time lapse video of the aurora, along with views of the undercast coursing over ridges, and past the top of Mt. Washington.

We also get images of sunrises and sunsets, the lights of little towns in the valleys, lights that get lost in pockets of fog that form near the rivers.

Like I said, it's magical.

Here's the video:

Stalled Nor'easter in New England Means We're In For A Week Of Rain And Chill.

Cloudy, damp, chilly November like
skies over Burlington, Vermont on Monday.
Expect a weeklong rainstorm in Vermont
and the rest of New England this week due
to a stalled nor'easter.  
The slide into winter continues apace, as snow flurries fell across the mountains of northern New England Sunday, and the first frosts of the season hit parts of southern New England Monday.

Another big feature of winter are nor'easters, those big blustery storms along the East Coast, especially in New England. They bring high winds, heavy rain and heavy snow.

One slow moving one will hit the Northeast this week.

It's early in the season, so there will be little if any snow.

Freezing levels will be up around 6,000 feet, so only maybe the tippy top of Mount Washington will get snow.  The rest of us are in for a chilly rainstorm.

But for the rest of New England, especially the coastline and in Maine, we're in for a week of heavy rain, coastal erosion, wind and chilly temperatures.

In the upper atmosphere, this storm will get cut off from the main flow of the the jet stream, which is basically moving west to east. This means the nor'easter, as it develops today, will sit and spin near the New England coast for the rest of the week before grudgingly moving away toward the weekend.

This means if you like November weather, you'll LOVE this week.

But the Northeast, especially eastern and central New England, could be in for a lot of rain. Pretty much all of New England and northeastern New York is going to get more than an inch of rain.

Much of Vermont and the eastern two thirds of southern New England will probably get two inches of rain. But the real quote, unquote winners will be New Hampshire and especially central and coastal Maine, where more than five inches of rain could come down between now and Friday.

For most of New England, this rain is welcome as it has been on the dry side until recently. It'll be the kind of steady, slow rain that really soaks into the ground, precisely what we need.

Maine and a good chunk of New Hampshire are a problem, though. So much rain will come down that there is a risk of flooding. It doesn't help that New Hampshire and Maine have been a bit wetter than the rest of New England lately.

The coast is going to be a bit of a problem, too, but not an extreme one. We're in a phase in which tides aren't normally their highest of the season. Also, this nor'easter will be a strong storm, but not extraordinarily so.

All this means that coastal flooding will be minor. However, this storm will linger for days, as opposed to the quick one or at most two day shots typical of most nor'easters. So, coastal erosion caused by days of pounding by stormy waves will be a real issue.

For the rest of us in New England, even those of us far removed from the coast in northwestern Vermont, expect a long stretch of rain, damp, gray, breezy, cold weather. I guess this is all payback for the gloriously sunny, bright and dry autumn we've had up until the end of last week.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Hot Times In September Are More Evidence Global Warming Is Resurgent

NCDC's map of global temperatures in Sept. 2014
are showing a LOT of global heat.  
If you were sweating it out in September, you weren't alone.

The whole world was hot, hot, hot.

The National Climate Data Center said Monday that if you combine ocean and land temperatures, September was the hottest such month since they started keeping track of these things 135 years ago.

Monday's announcement echos NASA, which earlier this month, using their own measurements, also said September was the hottest on record across the globe

We might be starting a trend of renewed, more intense warming, but of course it's a little too soon to be sure.  But here's food for thought along those lines:

The NCDC said this year so far ties with 1998 as the hottest year on record. A lot of people who say global climate change is not happening or is a non-issue would tell you that 1998 was the hottest year on record and it's been cooling off ever since.

That's not at all right, of course. The year 1998 had a mega-El Nino, which causes global temperatures to get hotter than they normally would be, with or without global warming caused by us humans belching tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

Also, overall, the Earth's climate has continued to warm since 1998, just not at as fast a pace it was during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s

Besides, 1998 isn't the world's hottest year on record. The Top Five hottest, starting with number one and working down to fifth hottest are: 2010, 2005, 1998, 2013, 2003.  So global warming has kept going since 1998 despite what the naysayers tell us.

The apparent slowdown in the rate of warming over the past 15 years isn't really shocking. Many scientists say a lot of the increasing heat in recent years has been going into the oceans. Also, human caused global warming doesn't shut down other natural cycles in the climate.

Human caused global warming might overwhelm these cycles, but they're still in play. So the pace of global warming might wax and wane during different decades.

The heat of 2014 could be a sign that the slightly slower pace of global warming might be ending, but of course we would need many months and years of additional data to verify that.

But every month so far in 2014 except February ranked among the top four hottest months on record. May, June, August and September were the hottest such months on record. February brought a "cool" spell, in which the world had "only" its 18th hottest February, out of the past 135 years.

We might be heading into another El Nino, a periodic warming of the eastern Pacific ocean. As in 1998, the current building El Nino might be adding more heat on top of the warmth induced by carbon dioxide emissions.

It's unclear how strong the upcoming El Nino will be, if it comes at all.  It probably won't be as strong as it was in 1997 and 1998, yet still we seem poised to break high temperature records set then.

Obviously, I hope that a faster pace of climate change isn't starting. But if it is, the people who are telling us the concept of human-caused  climate change is bunk might have to change their narrative.

You know, the false one that said climate change stopped 20 years ago. I wonder what they'll come up with for a new story?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Indian Cyclone Leads To Deadly Blizzard, Avalanches

Rescuers carrying a body off of a high
Himalaya pass after a blizzard started
by the remnants of Cyclone Hudhud.  
Tropical systems like hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones almost always weaken and fall apart rapidly once they come ashore.  

Still, the remnants of these systems can cause torrential rains and severe flooding days after breaking apart as deep moisture from these systems travel hundreds or even thousands of miles inland.

This just happened in India but with a twist: When the moisture from the remnants of Cyclone Hudhud hit the Himalayas, they unleashed a huge blizzard that has killed 27 people and left many more missing. 

According to the New York Times, the extreme snowstorm caught about 350 trekkers in a high mountain pass. Only 244 reached their destination which means close to 100 have been killed or missing.  
Snow from Hurricane Sandy, 2012, W. Virginia.  

Some of those missing people could be hold up in high mountain lodges, however.

There were a lot of people hiking up in these mountain passes because October is usually the prime trekking season. It's the driest time of year, temperatures are usually on the moderate side, and it doesn't usually snow.

But the remnants of Hudhud changed all that, tragically.

Here in the United States there have been a few other examples of "snow hurricanes," though none were as tragic as the one last week in the Himalayas.

In 1804, the famous "snow hurricane" hit New England when a strong hurricane moving northward from the Carolina coast collided with cold air over New England.

Up to 48 inches of snow fell in the Windsor, Vermont area. The storm destroyed crops and orchards, flattened barns and killed 16 people. In northern New England, snow remained on the ground until spring.

Hurricane Ginny dumped several inches of snow on Maine in 1963. And horrible hurricane Sandy in 2012 dumped up to four feet of snow on West Virginia.

Yes, tropical storms and hurricanes are creatures of hot air and humidity. But sometimes, they team up with winter for truly terrible results.

Well-Prepared Bemuda Weathers Huge Hurricane Gonzalo Well

A guy enjoys the wind from Hurricane
Gonzalo as it approached Bermuda Friday afternoon.  
As you've seen on the news, Hurricane Gonzalo hit Bermuda hard on Friday night with gusts that might have reached as high as 144 mph on an exposed hillside location.

The official strongest winds at the Bermuda airport peaked at a sustained 93 mph with gusts to 113 mph.  See the video of the storm at the bottom of this post.

At last report, there were no deaths on the island. As you'd guess, damage was extensive, but not as bad as you'd expect, given the extreme winds.

After Hurricane Fabian slammed Bermuda in 2003, causing a huge disaster, buildings, roads and pretty much everything else were reinforced beyond even the strong structural codes in place before Fabian.

This time, with Gonzalo, the airport re-opened within 24 hours of Gonzalo's passage. Almost everybody lost electricity on the island and most roads were blocked by fallen trees, but they were cleaning things up Saturday.  
Wind and waves pick up on Bermuda Friday
as Hurricane Gonzalo approached.  

Most of the island's major hotels suffered only minor damage, but they remained opened and things are going along nicely there.

I saw a photo from storm chaser Jim Edds (@ExtremeStorms) who sat down for a nice hamburger and fries served to him at a hotel during the eye of the storm.

Storm preparedness works. Just look to Bermuda for Exhibit A.

One weird thing people saw on Bermuda during the highest winds of Gonzalo is that their toilets started to gurgle and drain.

According to David Mersereau, writing for The Vane, the high winds passing over plumbing roof vents caused little pockets of low pressure over the the top of the vents. The low pressure causes air inside the vent to rise into it to fill the vaccuum up at the top.

If that sucking air is strong enough, it can also draw water, making the toilets partly drain. The water returns to the toilet when the wind subsides, causing the low pressure at the top of the vent to go away.  

Here's that video montage of some scenes from Hurricane Gonzalo in Bermuda:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Remarkable Vermont October Record Heat

Record October heat has kept flowers
blooming in my gardens, St. Albans,
Vermont in the normally chilly northwest
corner of the state.  
It's been quite a stretch of weirdly warm weather here in Vermont lately, especially in the Champlain Valley.

What got most of the headlines were the daily record high temperatures of 79 and 80 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday, but that wasn't the weirdest part of this heat wave.

Temperatures that warm do happen in October from time to time in Vermont. In fact the hottest October day high on record for any date in Burlington during the month was 85 degrees.

Usually, though, these October warm spells hit when the sky is clear and humidity is low. When that happens, temperatures usually cool into the 40s or low 50s at night, even if it was around 80 during the day.

This time, there were clouds and rather high humidity around. So the temperature was continuously above 60 degrees Tuesday through Thursday. In fact, as of 6 a.m. Friday, the temperature in Burlington  STILL hadn't fallen below 60 yet. But that will either happen briefly this Friday morning, or tonight.

Even so, I don't recall ever seeing overnight low temperatures stay that high for so long. The low temperatures this week were warmer than the normal afternoon highs for mid-October, which are in the upper 50s.

With a high temperature of 80 and a low of 68 on Wednesday, the average temperatue was 74 degrees. That tied the record for the warmest mean temperature for any day in October in Burlington, in records going back to the 1880s.

The low of 68 degrees is eight degrees warmer than the normal low in July.  Even in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, in the chilly Northeast Kingdom, the temperature never made it below 60 degres on Wednesday.

Rain held temperatures down slightly on Thursday, but not much. And the humidity was higher than I can recall seeing in October.  The dewpoint is a measure of how humid the air is. If the dewpoint is 60 degrees, it's sort of humid, and that's typical for mid-summer.

Thursday afternoon, the dewpoint reached as high as 67 degrees up here in Burlington. That's very sticky even by July standards.

Not surprisingly, all this means the month of October as a whole is running very much on the warm side --seven degrees above normal at last check.

But things have a way of balancing out.  It'll be a little cooler today and Saturday, and a strong cold front crashing through on Saturday will make temperatures plunge.

High temperatures in Vermont will only reach the 40s on Sunday, and it'll probably snow a little on the mountain tops.  Afternoon high temperatures will barely make it to 50 during most of next week.

That's a bit cooler than normal for mid to late October, but it's nothing extraordinary at all. But after our foliage season summer, it will seem frigid.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Winter Polar Vortex Hysteria Is Back! (Sigh)

Accuweather's winter forecast: Don't
assume this is a forgone conclusion  
If you read the headlines this week, you could be forgiven for thinking we're all going to freeze to death in the dark amid an incredibly harsh winter coming up.

The headlines are dramatic:  .

Salon's headline screams: "Bad News America: The Polar Vortex Is Coming Back!"

Here's AOL News: "US Winter Forecast: Cold, Snow to Seize Northeast; Wintry Blasts to Slick South."

The occasion for all these doomsday winter headlines was the predictions for the nation's winter weather from AccuWeather, a leading private weather forecasting firm. 

AccuWeather, too, had a scary headline, exactly the same one AOL News used for their online report.

Before you start panicking over the Killer Polar Vortex, don't. It's all hype.

If you delve into the details,  AccuWeather's winter forecast didn't strike me as all that dire.

"The polar vortex, the culprit responsible for several days of below zero temperatures last year, will slip down into the region from time to time, delivering blasts of arctic air.

'I think, primarily we'll see that happening in mid-January into February, but again, it's not going to be the same type of situation we saw last year, not as persistent,' Expert Long Range Forecaster Paul Pasterlok said."

In other words, the eastern United States is going to get hit by something that happens most winters. Occasionally, the jet stream will carve out a huge southward dip or bulge, which is what many people referred to last winter as the Polar Vortex.

When this southward bulge sags toward the United States, we get a nasty arctic cold snap.

As Pasterlok from AccuWeather pointed out, what made last winter so exceptional and awful wasn't the fact the polar vortex or southward bulge in the jet stream or whatever you want to call it happened.  It just stayed put forever.

Usually, arctic outbreaks come and go pretty quickly. Last winter, the vortex just got stuck, so we never really got much in the way of breaks from the cold. It just kept sending the frigid air from Canada our way from December through March.

If this winter is more typical, we'll get bad cold waves that last a few days, interspersed with periods of more pleasant weather.

I have no idea how this winter will shape up. To be honest, nobody does. Not even AccuWeather, really.

Long range forecasts are notorious for being at least a little off.  That's no slam against Accuweather. It's just the nature of the beast. The science is great at forecasting a day or two out. It's also OK at predicting general trends decades from now, as we keep hearing predictions of a worsening global warming

But forecasting a few months out is dicy.

Another wild card is El Nino, a periodic warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean that seems to be getting under way, at least sort of, right now.  Often, but not always, an El Nino makes winters warmer in North America than they otherwise would be.

Just as a parlor game, though, we can take a look at other forecasts for this winter. NOAA/National Weather Service predicts a warm winter in the western third of the nation and to a lesser extent in New England, and a chilly one in the southeastern United States.

Meanwhile, The Weather Channel and WSI forecast a cold East Coast winter, and one that is not quite as bad as last year in the Great Lakes region.

Gonzalo To Slam Bermuda; Is Helping Make New England Wetter

Visible satellite view of Hurricane Gonzalo this morning.  

Rainfall with this weather situation is going to be more intense than I thought in eastern Massachusetts.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch in southeastern New England because of the possibility of super intense downpours that could cause significant urban flooding.

There's also a flash flood watch in central and northern New Hampshire, and western Maine. 

The downpours will coincide in Boston and nearby cities with the evening rush hour. We all know how much fun flooded roads are during rush hour, don't we?

If the road is flooded anywhere in New England today, heed the National Weather Service's cheesy but very wise warning: "Turn around, don't drown."


Hurricane Gonzalo, as you might have heard on the news, is steaming toward Bermuda. It's the most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean since 2011.

As of this morning, sustained winds with Gonzalo were up to 140 mph, so this is a scary storm.

Forecasts are pretty consistent that Gonzalo will pass very close to Bermuda, though it will have weakened slightly. Still, Bermuda can expect a huge blow from this thing.

Once it gets passed Bermuda, it will probably clip Newfoundland, but by then it will be weakening somewhat.

Gonzalo, as we've noted already, is completely missing the United States East Coast, but it's still having an influence, especially in New England.

A big cold front is trudging into New England, ending a spate of record October heat that set temperatures as high as 80 degrees Wednesday in Burlington, Vermont, and kept overnight "low" temperatures warmer than they normally are in July.

It's raining pretty hard in the Northeast as the cold front is being fed by a plume of moisture from deep in the tropics. This cold front's tropical feed is also partly coming from Hurricane Gonzalo.

Water vapor imagery shows moisture (in white and blue,
mostly) streaming north into New England, with
a contribution from Hurricane Gonzalo
(Gonzalo is the pink circle off the East Coast)  
It's been dry in much of New England and New York State recently, so we could use the rain.

I was taking advantage of the record heat to do autumn clean up in my St. Albans, Vermont garden yesterday and I encountered lots and lots of dust.

Parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine might get up to three inches of rain with this very wet cold front.

The fact that it's been dry means the heavy rain, even with Gonzalo's contribution, won't result in much flooding.

It occasionally will rain hard enough today to cause some urban or small stream flooding in spot, but I really don't think at this point it will amount to anything extreme.

Also, anybody in New England who has been enjoying the record heat will feel a sting by Sunday. It will turn much colder, with daytime highs in northern New England by then only in the 40s. It will also snow a little bit on the mountain tops.

But such weather is pretty common in New England in mid to late October. The 80 degree, high humidity warmth we just experienced certainly is not common.

Anyway, here's a message to Hurricane Gonzalo: Please don't trash Bermuda, but thanks for the rain contribution here in the Northeast. We needed it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Unlucky As Hell: Arkansas Buildings Hit By Two Tornadoes Within 11 Days

Farm building in England, Ark. destroyed by
a tornado Monday. The same area was hit
by another tornado 11 days earlier.
Photo from KARK
Talk about unlucky:

During that big severe weather outbreak in the South on Monday, some buildings in England, Arkansas were hit by a tornado. Those very same buildings were hit by another tornado just 11 days earlier.

According to a report from the National Weather Service in Little Rock, Arkansas, an EF-1 tornado packing winds of up to 90 mph damaged the structures. The tornado that hit on October 2 was of similar strength.

I don't think I've ever heard of two tornadoes going over the same spot within two weeks of each other.

The Monday tornado tore down a fence at a home at which the owner had barely replaced because the previous one was destroyed on Oct 2, television station KARK reported. 

I think the homeowner should just give up on fences.

The Arkansas storms were part of a large outbreak of bad weather that prompted 326 reports of severe weather, including 18 tornadoes, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. 

Luckily, or at least I hope, Arkansas is done with severe weather for a little while at least.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hurricanes Surprise Out In The Atlantic Ocean

Hurricane Gonzalo northeast of Puerto Rico Tuesday morning.  
While we were all distracted by Pacific typhoons, Indian cyclones and tornadoes in the American South, the Atlantic Ocean has unexpectedly flared with two surprising hurricanes.

Usually, the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is around the first half of September, but it the whole season has thankfully been rather dull this year.

We're below average in the number of hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean this year.

However, we have had a late season burst. What many thought would be a mediocre tropical storm named Fay blossomed over the weekend. It blasted Bermuda with sustained winds of 61 mph with gusts to 82 mph Sunday morning.

Fay then briefly became a hurricane as it moved toward the northeast, but then died a quick death over colder ocean water and killer upper level winds that tore it apart.

Then Gonzalo formed. As of Tuesday morning, it had sustained winds of 110 mph, and was expected to strengthen to a major hurricane with 135 mph sustained winds on Wednesday.

As Gonzalo was rapidly strengthening, it caused winds of 67 mph with gusts to 88 mph on Antigua, says Dr. Jeff Masters on his Weather Underground blog.   

Luckily, it's mostly missing Puerto Rico as it curves up toward the north. It could threaten Bermuda (again!) later this week, but Gonzalo will miss the United States East Coast by a very wide margin, so we don't have to worry about that.

After Gonzalo fades away, the Atlantic Ocean will quiet down again.

Then eyes turn toward the Pacific, as Tropical Storm Ana, which might become a hurricane, could threaten Hawaii by this weekend. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Global Temperatures Didn't Get Memo; Not Playing To Conservatives' Talking Points

Hot times: NASA's map of September global
temperatures shows a lot of heat.  
The dwindling number of people who keep telling us that climate change isn't real have a problem.

These shrinking number of shriekers say all this talk of a warming planet is just a plot by climate scientists to rake in zillions of dollars in research grants, and a plot by the UN to take away all of our freedoms.

But here's the problem. The data keeps showing more and more warming.

And on it went today. NASA said September was the warmest on record, and the six month ending in September were also the hottest on record. Their records go back to about 1880.

There's a pretty decent chance that 2014 will end up as the hottest year on record, too.

Yes, I know six months doesn't prove too much. You want to look at the long term trends. Will things generally keep getting hotter, as they have been? True, we've had a slowdown in the rate of warming over the past decade, but is that slowdown over? Are we going to start heating up really, really fast again? Time will tell.

And some of this year's global heat is probably due to a burgeoning El Nino. An El Nino, to oversimply things, is a periodic warming of the surface water in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

El Ninos tend to make the globe as a whole warmer. But since this is so far a weak El Nino, you'd expect things to be warm-ish, but not record breaking.

Anyway, I'm getting technical. I'll look forward to the even more closely watched National Climatic Data Center statistics on September global temperatures, due out in a week or so.

Of course the problem for the climate science deniers is every time something like this happens, like this hot September, that blasted, pesky media keeps reporting it. And people hear about it. And gets some of them thinking, "Hmmm. Maybe the world is warming up. I keep hearing about these hot climate reports."

In the face of evidence, the narrative is changing. Many people have given up the "climate change is a big lie" meme for other arguments.

In Congress, a number of Republicans claim not to know anything about what's going on, because they're not scientists.

Which is a weasely way to get out of commenting on climate change. Or even better, doing something about it.

Most members of Congress are not scientists. But most are not economists, but they make decisions that  affect the economy all the time. Most members of Congress are not military strategists, but they make decisions about wars and diplomacy all the time.

Or at least they're supposed to. Seems they're making no decisions on anything at all lately, but that subject is for another screed I'll write about some other time.

My point is, most members of Congress are not climate scientists, but that doesn't preclude them from seeking advice from climate experts.  But oops, the public isn't suppose to realize that, or at least say it out loud. My bad.

At my house in Vermont this week, we're supposed to get near record high temperatures tomorrow and Wednesday. That means little of course, because a warm spell on a pinprick spot on Earth doesn't tell you anything about global warming.

But these hot spells keep hitting people with increasing frequency all over the world. Which makes me wonder when the climate deniers will become a tragicomic laughing stock among us sweating masses.

I think that might be starting to happen already.

Big Severe Weather Outbreak In Nation's South, Central Areas Today

Severe storm in Oklahoma last night as
the current severe weather outbreak got underway.  
UPDATE; Those tornadic supercells and storms I worried would form ahead of the main band of storms with the current severe outbreak appeared to be forming as of noon.

Tornado warnings were beginning to sprout in storms east of teh squall line in eastern Arkansas and western Mississippi.

The threat of tornadoes will grow over the next couple of hours.

Already, we have at least one tornado death to report, unfortunately, in Ashdown, Arkansas.

We hope things don't get any deadlier.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION: Early Monday morning, there was a tornado watch covering most of Arkansas, northern Louisiana and part of East Texas.

That's pretty unusual since most tornadoes come in the afternoon and evening. Plus, October isn't really prime season for tornadoes.

Spring is the big tornado season.

But every once in awhile, you get a really dynamic, energetic storm system in the autumn, and you get a widespread severe weather outbreak. That's what's happening today.

This spell of dangerous weather actually started yesterday and especially last evening. There were more than 80 reports of damaging winds and big hail, mostly in Texas and Oklahoma, but extending as far east as Tennessee and Alabama. Winds gusted into the 75 to 80 mph range in a few Southern Plains towns.

Today, things will get worse. 

There was a wicked squall line with severe storms in western Arkansas and northeastern Texas early Monday morning. That will move east today, bringing a threat of widespread strong winds and damage all the way into Tennessee.  If anything, the storms along the squall line will get stronger as the day goes on.

Straight line winds are the main threat today, but that's as big a threat as tornadoes, as we saw with a microburst in Massachusetts last week.

Still, some of the storms in the squall line will start to spin, creating the risk of tornadoes. And a few supercell storms might get going ahead of the squall line, and those could create a couple strong, long lasting tornadoes.

So the southern Mississippi Valley is kind of screwed today. People living there ought to look to the skies, and take any storms they see coming seriously. It'll also be a good idea to keep a weather radio or other media handy so you can hear warnings right away.

The severe weather will continue on into the southeastern United States for Tuesday. As dangerous as the weather will be there, the strong winds and tornadoes won't be quite as widespread as today.

In addition to the severe weather threat, heavy rains are likely in a lot of the storms in and around Tennesee, so flash flooding is going to be a problem in some spots.

The storm system causing all the rough weather will only trudge slowly toward the northeast, so wet weather won't hit the East Coast until the Wednesday through Friday time frame.  There could be areas of heavy rain when this hits the East, but there will only be a few severe storms, I think.

As I noted, big tornado and severe weather outbreaks aren't that common in the fall, but they do happen. Just last November, a flurry of severe tornadoes caused widespread destruction in the Midwest.

In that outbreak 73 tornadoes caused 11 deaths across the Midwest.

Here's a video of the storms as they developed in Kansas last night. Looks like quite a bit of hail:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vongfong and Hudhud: Two Storms With Odd Names Are Serious, Dangerous

Big surf in Okinawa from Typhoon Vongfong. 
To Westerners, English speakers, the names Vongfong and Hudhud may seem like a curiosity, and perhaps something that you don't need to take so seriously

But Vongfong and Hudhud are killers. Vongfong is a typhoon lashing Japan at the moment, and Hudhud is a cyclone from the Bay of Bengal that is thrashing part of India.

See the videos at the bottom of this post. 

Typhoons and cyclones are just other names for hurricanes. Hurricanes are called typhoons in the western Pacific, and hurricanes are called cyclones near India. In any case, the storms can be dangerous, and these two are.

So far, six people are known dead from Cyclone Hudhud, but the storm was still moving ashore with winds of up to 127 mph and a dangerous storm surge, so we might get updates with higher death counts, unfortunately.

The Indian government had evacuated tens of thousands of people from low lying areas and put them in sturdy concrete buildings on high ground, so that will help. But there are still an unknown number of people in flimsy buildings, or in low lying areas prone to storm surges. 

In the city of Visakhapatnam, which is near where the cyclone is making landfall, a local journalist told the BBC the wind was picking up debris and smashing things throughout the city.

On Okinawa, winds of tropical storm force, 39 mph or greater, continued almost continuously for 13 hours and up to 20 inches of rain fell.

At least Vongfong is no longer a super typhoon like it was a few days ago out in the open waters of the western Pacific. Back then, it had winds of 150 mph.

Mainland Japan probably won't get much in the way of hurricane force winds as Vongfong continues to weaken. But it won't be moving forward that fast, so it will have time to drop a lot of rain on already soaked Japan. 

The long period of downpours from Vongfong, together with the soaking Japan got from another typhoon last week, are almost sure to cause destructive flooding. 

Closer to the United States, the Atlantic Ocean has had a quiet hurricane season, but things heated up this weekend. Tropical Storm Fay formed Friday, and early this morning caused winds to gust as high as 82 mph on Bermuda.

Fay will turn toward the northeast and weaken, and will pose no further threat to land. But it looks like another tropical storm wants to form out in the Atlantic and threaten Puerto Rico and Hispaniola later in the week.

Here's a couple videos:

This one is reportedly a view of Visakhapatnam, India amid Hudhud:

Storm chaser James Reynolds captured this footage of Vongfong in Okinawa:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Another Terrible Flood Has Hit Italy. Dramatic Video

Cars were stacked atop one another
after an extreme flash flood
in Genoa, Italy this week.  
Severe flooding hit parts of Italy this week, with the area around Genoa in the northwestern part of the country hardest hit.

According to Reuters, one person was swept away and drowned as a muddy flash flood blasted through the medieval port city.

This is the second time in three years Genoa has had such a terrible flood.

The 2011 flood killed seven people. The flood also proved the point that if you get one disaster, the time to prepare for the next one is right away.

In the lastest flood, the mayor of Genoa said Italian weather forecasters had said there would be heavy rain, but didn't warn them of an impending major flood.

You can see dramatic videos of the disaster at the bottom of this post.

According to Reuters, the heavy rain wasn't solely to blame for the floods. Poor building decisions and bureacracy worsened things:

"Italy's national council of geologists which warned of looming problems in the fragile area around the city in a statement in January, was heavily critical, saying little had been done since the disastrous 2011 floods.

'It's a mass of problems together. You have houses built in the wrong places, inadequatre water channeling systems, poor planning and administration,' Carol Malgarotto president of the council in the region of Liguria, told Reuters."

About $44 million had been earmarked to reinforce flood defenses, but the spending has been blocked by legal disputes.

All this proves that if a natural disaster shows that things need to be improved, bolstered, fixed or moved so tragedy doesn't happen again, you ought to do it as quickly as possible. You never know when the next one will hit.

Yeah, it might be 100 years from now. But then again, it could be tomorrow.

Here's one scary video from the Genoa flood:

Here's another video of Genoa