Already a campaign issue.
How big will it be?

USAToday:

Every large community along the Arkansas River will see major or record flooding within the next week to 10 days as swift-moving water from weeks of heavy rain challenges Arkansas’ aging levee system, the National Weather Service said Wednesday.
Worse, more heavy rain is on the way. 
Arkansas is not alone. Record flooding is also creating havoc in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and northeast Oklahoma, both from locally heavy rainfall and from swollen rivers bringing water south from the north-central U.S.

Eight states along the Mississippi have seen the longest period of flooding since the Great Flood of 1927, according to the NWS. The river has been at flood stage in Baton Rouge since January as snowmelt and rainfall waters make their way downstream.

One death in Arkansas has been attributed to the floods. Police said a 64-year-old victim apparently ignored a barricade and drove his minivan into floodwaters near the main gate at Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith.
The Arkansas River, swollen from water released upriver in Oklahoma, is expected to crest Wednesday near Fort Smith, Arkansas, at 41 feet, well above the previous record of 38.1 feet.

UPDATE:

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The Fossil fuel industry and its mouthpieces often embarrassing in their attempt to tie the power and wealth of the fossil oligarchs to the ideals of democracy. This sometimes leads us to do stupid things.

You know what they say, Freedom Fries are not Free.

NBC News:

The announcement this week came with the dry title “Department of Energy Authorizes Additional LNG Exports from Freeport LNG.”
“Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy,” it quoted Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes as saying in explaining why the Energy Department was approving expansion of exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

Yes, he said “freedom gas.”
The announcement goes on to quote Steven Winberg, the Energy Department’s assistant secretary for fossil energy, as saying: “With the U.S. in another year of record-setting natural gas production, I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world.”
The constructions aren’t new. When he signed similar orders early this month, Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters in Brussels that “the United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent,” adding: “And rather than in the form of young American soldiers, it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas.”
According to Energy News Bulletin, a trade journal, a reporter asked Perry whether he thought “freedom gas” was an appropriate name for liquefied natural gas. “Yes, I think you may be correct in your observation,” he replied.

Liquefied natural gas is a big deal right now. The United States and China have been in a trade war ever since President Donald Trump raised import tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports last year, to which the Chinese government responded by raising tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods.

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There’s a case to be made for keeping nuclear plants running during this energy transition. There is not a case for subsidizing coal plants with the same legislation – while cutting incentives to competition from wind and energy efficiency.

Ohio makes yet another strong play to be the nation’s most backward state.

Cincinnati.com

COLUMBUS – Ohio Republicans’ energy overhaul started as a thinly veiled attempt to rescue two northern Ohio nuclear plants with new fees on everyone’s electric bills. 
Now, the veil is off. 
Changes made to House Bill 6 last week would direct most of the $197.6 million collected from new fees on Ohioans’ electric bills to Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions, which operates two nuclear plants outside Toledo and Cleveland.
Renewable energy companies from wind to solar would not get a cut of this “Ohio Clean Air Program.”
In a double blow, lawmakers also axed current programs that encourage electricity providers to purchase renewable energy and help customers become more energy efficient. 
And lawmakers ensured utilities could charge customers a fee for two coal plants operated by Piketon-based Ohio Valley Electric Corporation through 2030. The plants are located in Gallipolis and Madison, Indiana. 

Wednesday’s changes likely jettisoned any hope of widespread Democratic support.
“It’s now just straight-up corporate welfare,” said Rep. Kristin Boggs, the Ohio House’s No. 2 Democrat. “I don’t know how else to describe it.” 

Bloomberg:

The Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a measure that would subsidize the state’s struggling coal and nuclear plants after lobbying from a member of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
Bob Paduchik, who also led the Ohio Trump campaign in 2016, called lawmakers urging them to support the legislation and stressing that the president was behind it as well, according to a person familiar with the conversations.

Paduchik’s pitch underscored the thousands of coal and nuclear power plant jobs that could be tied to the legislation and the political risks to Trump in the battleground state if it failed, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter.

The measure, which now goes to the Ohio Senate, requires electric customers to subsidize the state’s aging coal and nuclear power plants. Last year, Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. asked the Department of Energy to issue an emergency order to keep certain plants operating.
And Robert E. Murray, the billionaire founder and chairman of mining company Murray Energy Corp., which has sold coal to the company, spent months in 2017 pushing Trump and top administration officials to keep coal power plants running.
The Ohio measure would slap new fees on electric bills for a “Clean Air Program” and steer most of the revenue to FirstEnergy Solutions’s Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants. A separate monthly fee would be authorized through 2030 to support two coal plants operated by the Ohio Valley Electric Corp.
FirstEnergy Solutions, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, has said it would close the reactors without the subsidies, which critics have characterized as a corporate bailout.

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E&E News:

The Cato Institute quietly shut down a program that for years sought to raise uncertainty about climate science, leaving the libertarian think tank co-founded by Charles Koch without an office dedicated to global warming.
The move came after Pat Michaels, a climate scientist who rejects mainstream researchers’ concerns about rising temperatures, left Cato earlier this year amid disagreements with officials in the organization.
“They informed me that they didn’t think their vision of a think tank was in the science business, and so I said, ‘OK, bye,'” Michaels said in an interview yesterday. “There had been some controversy going around the building for some time, so things got to a situation where they didn’t work out.”
A spokeswoman said Cato’s shuttering of the Center for the Study of Science does not represent a shift in the institute’s position on human-caused climate change. But the think tank moved decisively to close down the science wing that was overseen by Michaels. Ryan Maue, a meteorologist and former adjunct scholar, also left the center.
“While it is true that, with the departure of Pat Michaels, we have deactivated our Center for the Study of Science, we continue to work on science policy issues,” Khristine Brookes, the spokeswomen, wrote in an email. She didn’t mention climate change.
Michaels is among a small number of academics with legitimate climate science credentials who downplay the human contribution to rising temperatures. He is a frequent guest on Fox News and other conservative outlets, and he has spent years attacking efforts to address climate change. He was influential in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, and he helped turn the GOP away from climate policy at a time when conservatives were embracing it (Climatewire, Dec. 5, 2018). That shift has endured.

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Above – Oklahoma TV Met – “I’ve never seen that before…”

Difficulty quantifying changes in twisters over decades, in part because technology has changed so drastically for detecting storms in last 30 years.

More research needed, but this year’s season may break records.

New York Times:

Tuesday was the 12th consecutive day with at least eight tornado reports, breaking the record, according to Dr. Marsh. The storms have drawn their fuel from two sources: a high-pressure area that pulled the Gulf of Mexico’s warm, moist air into the central United States, where it combined with the effects of a trough trapped over the Rockies, which included strong winds.
“We are flirting in uncharted territory,” Dr. Marsh said of the sustained period of severe weather. “Typically, you’d see a break of a day or two in between these long stretches, but we’re just not getting that right now.”
Forecasters said that even the briefest of reprieves might not come until late this week, and another round of severe weather erupted on Tuesday afternoon.
Climate change is increasingly linked to extreme weather, but limited historical information, especially when compared with temperature data that goes back more than a century, has made it difficult for researchers to determine whether rising temperatures are making tornadoes more common and severe.

Kerry A. Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who specializes in hurricanes, noted that the science of the connection between tornadoes and climate change is simply less comprehensive that what researchers have compiled on tropical cyclones.

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Tweeting Twisters

May 28, 2019

Social media for riding out the outbreak.

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The idea of a “Team B” to produce intelligence more politically palatable to a Republican administration is not new.

In the 80s, hard-liners not satisfied with intelligence community expert estimates of Soviet capabilities, formed a “Team B” group to provide more threatening and dire assessments to the President. The group was promoted by Donald Rumsfeld, and included Paul Wolfowitz, both later architects of the war in Iraq.
Also in the lead up to that war, Vice President Dick Cheney famously oversaw the manipulation of intelligence to deceive both the executive branch and the American people about the need for an invasion.

The Atlantic:

(1) During the several months preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, and thereafter, the vice president became aware that no certain evidence existed of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a fact articulated in several official documents, including: (a) A report by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, concluding that “there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or where Iraq has–or will–establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities.” (b) A National Intelligence Estimate, compiled by the nation’s intelligence agencies, admitting to “little specific information” about chemical weapons in Iraq. (c) A later section of the same NIE, admitting “low confidence” that Saddam Hussein “would engage in clandestine attacks against the U.S. Homeland,” and equally “low confidence” that he would “share chemical or biological weapons with al-Qa’ida.” (d) An addendum by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, asserting that Hussein’s quest for yellowcake uranium in Africa was “highly dubious” and that his acquisition of certain machine parts, considered by some to be evidence of a nuclear program, were “not clearly linked to a nuclear end use.” (e) A report by the United States Department of Energy, stating that the machinery in question was “poorly suited” for nuclear use.

(2) Despite these questions and uncertainties, and having full awareness of them, the vice president nevertheless proceeded to misrepresent the facts in his public statements, claiming that there was no doubt about the existence of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq and that a full-scale nuclear program was known to exist, including: (a) March 17, 2002: “We know they have biological and chemical weapons.” (b) March 19, 2002: “We know they are pursuing nuclear weapons.” (c) March 24, 2002: “He is actively pursuing nuclear weapons.” (d) May 19, 2002: “We know he’s got chemical and biological…we know he’s working on nuclear.” (e) August 26, 2002: “We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons… Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.” (f) March 16, 2003: “We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.

Now the Trump administration has renewed its intention to produce similarly skewed pseudo-scientific assessments of global climate change.

What could go wrong?

New York Times:

President Trump has rolled back environmental regulations, pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, brushed aside dire predictions about the effects of climate change, and turned the term “global warming” into a punch line rather than a prognosis.

Now, after two years spent unraveling the policies of his predecessors, Mr. Trump and his political appointees are launching a new assault.
In the next few months, the White House will complete the rollback of the most significant federal effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, initiated during the Obama administration. It will expand its efforts to impose Mr. Trump’s hard-line views on other nations, building on his retreat from the Paris accord and his recent refusal to sign a communiqué to protect the rapidly melting Arctic region unless it was stripped of any references to climate change.
And, in what could be Mr. Trump’s most consequential action yet, his administration will seek to undermine the very science on which climate change policy rests.

“What we have here is a pretty blatant attempt to politicize the science — to push the science in a direction that’s consistent with their politics,” said Philip B. Duffy, the president of the Woods Hole Research Center, who served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed the government’s most recent National Climate Assessment. “It reminds me of the Soviet Union.”


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Horrifically relevant to today.

Game of Thrones was not about Dragons.
Just so, “Chernobyl” is not about radiation.

What is the cost of lies?
It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth..
the real danger is that if we hear enough
lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at 
all.
What can we do then?

Slava Malamud on Twitter:

I have just finished watching Episode 1 of Chernobyl on @HBO. My perspective is that of someone born and raised in the Soviet Union who has vivid memories of 1986, the catastrophe itself and how it was handled by the Soviet politicians and the state media…

First of all, it is almost inconceivable that a Western TV show would go to this amount of detail authentically portraying Soviet life in that era, knowing full well that its target audience (Western viewers) would never appreciate the effort or indeed even understand it…

Trust me, I try very hard to find inaccuracies, however minor. The Americans, a show with similar fetish-like obsession with authenticity, had plenty of small and big Soviet errata to be entertained with. Improperly fastened military shoulder bars, that sort of thing… Not here.

One reviewer made a point eerily relevant to the Age of Trump.

Jennifer Erameeva in Moscow Times:

“Chernobyl” is so hard to watch because of the all too human themes creator Craig Mazin has woven into his masterful script. Mazin and his team have done their homework, immersing themselves into the history, science, and even the tick-tock of Chernobyl, as well as first-hand accounts in Nobel prize laureate Svetlana Alexievich’s “Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster.” Watching the show is a crash course in nuclear physics, but more importantly, it is a thought-provoking exploration of the importance of truth and the nature of self-sacrifice.

“We live in a time where people seem to be re-embracing the corrosive notion that what we want to be true is more important than what is true,” Craig Mazin says of the series. “It’s as if truth has become a joke. One of the most important lessons of “Chernobyl” is that the truth does not care about us. The Soviet system was soaking in this cult of narrative, and then one day the truth erupts. This is why this story is more relevant than ever.”