Wild Weather Bears Climate Fingerprint

May 10, 2015

holthaus

The past week’s wild weather over the Midwest was instructive about the effects of climate change on “normal” badness.

Eric Holthaus in Slate:

For the first time ever, the National Weather Service issued a “flash flood emergency” for Oklahoma City as the city racked up more than 7 inches of rain—nearly tripling the previous record for the date. At one point, more than 3 inches of rain fell in a single hour.

According to local reports, a woman drowned in a tornado shelter at her southeast Oklahoma City home Wednesday night, a tragic and heartbreaking consequence of the record-breaking rainfall. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of such a death in a tornado shelter—though several children also drowned at a nearby elementary school in 2013 while seeking shelter from a large tornado.

Local police also dispatched dive teams to rescue stranded motorists and responded to a report of a man trapped in a floating mobile home. Roads were washed away. There were also accounts of tornado shelters erupting out of the ground due to the heavy rain:

shelter

One of the clearest consequences of climate change is an increase in rainfall intensity due to a quickening of the hydrologic cycle, the process by which water evaporates and turns into rain and snow. Wednesday’s rainfall record in Oklahoma joins other notable flash flooding incidents in recent years in Boulder, Colorado, Long Island, New York, and Pensacola, Florida, among many others.

5 Responses to “Wild Weather Bears Climate Fingerprint”


  1. We had something similar here on coastal Connecticut. In the Spring of 2010 I woke up and went into our basement to see if water was leaking into the basement from two major back to back storms. What I saw was 18 inches of water that overwhelmed our two sump pumps. Since I live on a hill, imagine my surprise.

    That storm combo washed out several bridges and caused major flooding in areas that usually don’t flood, even in hurricanes.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Yep, and don’t forget that tropical storm Ana is now soaking the Carolinas. Ana is arriving three weeks ahead of the official start of the hurricane season, and is the earliest named tropical storm in 12 years (and that one was also named Ana).

    The big question is whether the “wild weather” in OK will cause the “wild man” of the Senate to rethink his position on climate change. I refer to “Strom” Inhofe, of course.

  3. gregladen Says:

    And Minnesota. It was not a one-off spectacular event so it did not achieve national status, but last year, starting around June 1 and running through the entire month, it rained almost every day. Then, of course, since then we’ve had too little rain/snow so now we are having a drought (moderate over most of the state).

    But now, this rain system that is wetting down the southern plains and western plains along the Front Range, and dumping many inches of snow in N/SDAK is moving in here. I suspect we’ll have many days of rain and repeat last year. Just a guess.


  4. Actually I don’t “like” this one bit, but it’s important you share it !
    Keep up the good work.


  5. […] Meanwhile, to those who “don’t believe in climate change”, well Florida is slowly slipping into the Atlantic, an unprecedented strong el-Nino is forecast this year over the Pacific, we have a record breaking drought in California that has left the state desperate for water. And meanwhile if you live in the central US and you built that bunker in the yard to save you from Obama’s death panels….well its been raining so hard bunkers and storm shelters have started to rise out of the ground and float away. […]


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