After the wild weather of the past couple of weeks many of us will be happy just to have a house to stay in this Christmas. As if the tornadoes that ravaged Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee last week weren’t enough, states across the midwest experienced derechos and tornadoes after a day that pulverized previous high temperature records.
Wednesday was, as far as anyone seemed to know, the first time tornadoes broke out in Iowa in December. The derecho that swept across Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska had winds surpassing 80 MPH. But compared to what happened to Arkansas, Illinois and Kentucky last week we were pretty lucky.
Two billion dollar storms in the past week.
No doubt one of the first questions on many people’s minds was “is it climate change?” Here is a response from Minnesota Public Radio chief meteorologist Paul Hunter:
“Incredible. And in December. Our atmosphere is broken,” said Minnesota Public Radio chief meteorologist Paul Huttner in a tweet responding to the announcement of the most 75-mile-per-hour or higher thunderstorm wind gusts in a day.
Also from the Common Dreams article cited above we have these observations:
The United States on Wednesday had the most hurricane-force gusts ever recorded in a single day after an after an “off the charts” storm system tore through the central part of the country, bringing tornadoes and triggering widespread power outages, dust storms, and warnings of the climate emergency.
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said there were 55 such wind events throughout the day, more than ever seen at least since current record-keeping began in 2004.
“I’ve been doing this 30 years,” said CNN meteorologist Tom Sater, “and we’re seeing things today in the CNN Weather Center we have never seen before.”
As we all know one event does not indicate climate change. But many events way outside the norm happening over and over again in a short span of time seems to make a pattern that says the climate is changing.