Extreme Weather May Be The New Normal
By James Donahue
my years working as a bureau reporter in Michigan, we experienced a severe storm that dumped 24 inches of rain on our area
in about a week. It was a disaster for the rural farming area. Fields of crops were under water. Roads were flooded, bridges
were washed out, streams overflowed their banks and basements were flooded.
The stream about a half mile from our home was so flooded that the water came within a few hundred feet of our
house. My basement sump pump was working overtime, but the home escaped any damage. But we worried for a few days because
it appeared that the rains were not going to stop.
For weeks after that area farmers were using bulldozers to pull harvesting equipment through their muddy fields,
attempting to rescue as much of the season’s corn, bean and sugar beet crop as possible.
I received some kind of journalistic award for my work, covering
the disaster. It was no big deal for me. I couldn’t write about anything else that week. The rains and the flooding
was the big story.
They said that was what
the weather people call a “100-year” flood, and was so rare we probably would not experience anything like it
again in our lifetime.
But lo, storms
like that and worse are so common now that very few people are escaping them. When the storms come they are dumping two to
four inches of rain every hour. Long Island was deluged when a single storm recently dumped over 13 inches of rain. The City
of Phoenix, Arizona, was just left flooded by a similar “monsoon” storm that inundated that desert community.
Detroit and surrounding Southern Michigan cities were left flooded by two separate storms that swept that part of the state
one week apart.
Many of these storms are
accompanied by extreme lightning; high winds and even tornadoes in places where tornadoes have always been so rare people
didn’t think much about them.
are introducing us to new words to describe some of these extreme storms. The name “derecho” now describes a damaging
straight-line wind of 70-miles-per hour or higher and “training” is a term used to describe a series of severe
storms that follow one another like cars on a train. “Polar Vortex” is a new term used to describe extreme arctic
cold fronts sweeping down from the polar regions and keeping much of the northern hemisphere cooler than normal. And “El
Nino” is a description of the warming temperature of the Pacific Ocean, which has an impact on world weather conditions.
While the meteorologists and nightly news anchors have been careful
to avoid alarming the public about the extreme weather changes, they can no longer avoid telling us about the storms. Most
of them are still trying to explain why the storms are occurring, as if the events are only a temporary phenomenon and that
we can expect things to get back to normal perhaps next year.
But don’t count on it.
very thing former Vice President Al Gore warned us about in his film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” is happening before
our eyes. Gore took a lot of heat for daring to sound such a warning, but now we know he was right. Global warming and climate
change are upon us. And if we don’t stop depending on carbon fuels for our daily way of life, we may soon lose our daily
way of life.
Our homes, crops and even
our roads to work are being destroyed by wind, fire, water and hail. And the prognosis is that the worst is yet to come. Some
scientists, in an effort to stem the possibility of panic, have suggested that the changes are still 30 to 50 years away,
and that we still have time to do something about it.
But think of this. This year for the first time, people are able to take special boat trips through the Northwest
Passage around northern Canada and Alaska, and open pools of water have been spotted at or near the North Pole. The ice caps
are in meltdown. The sea levels are rising. Cities along the coast are soon about to be inundated with sea water.
Food will be in such short supply that only the rich will be able
to afford it.
If you think insanity is
getting too visible in the streets now, just wait until the grocery stores go empty. There is good reason why the local police units have begun donning military gear and are
riding around in armored vehicles.
A Mad Max scenario looms. And it doesn't have to happen. We could still do something about it. But we probably