Summer Rains Are Falling Harder - And More Often
I cringed when I read a recent article extolling the risk of "rain bombs" and "weaponizing the atmosphere". It's the Internet; catchy headlines result in more clicks. But there's truth lurking amidst the hyperbole.
Ask residents of historic Ellicott City, just outside Baltimore, Maryland. Thunderstorms Saturday night dropped 8-9 inches of rain in 3 hours, resulting in massive flash flooding; another thousand-year flood. Residents from South Carolina to Texas to Brainerd have experienced similar floods recently.
A 1.5F warmer atmosphere may not sound like much, but it means there's 6 percent more water floating overhead, more fuel for extreme summer rains.
With Minnesota teeter-tottering on the northern edge of a sprawling heat wave conditions will be ripe for more waves of intense T-storms, a few capable of torrential rains, into much of August. I don't see a big break in the pattern.
Storms are likely tonight, again Thursday. Dew points poke into the muggy 70s much of this week; highs near 90F by midweek.
Conditions may be ripe for a future Tropical Storm Earl, currently aimed at Mexico's Yucatan. Details below.
1 in 1,000 Year Rainfall Event. So says NOAA; with nearly 6" of rain falling in 90 minutes, rainfall totals approaching 10" north and west of Baltimore Saturday night.
* At least 2 people died during severe flash flooding, according to the Baltimore Sun. More details and perspective from WJLA-TV in Washington D.C. - the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Tornado Flattens Northern Vietnamese Province. Speaking of tornadoes in unusual places 9News in Australia has more information and video.
Minnesota: Drought-Free, For Now. National Drought Monitor data shows South Dakota drying out rapidly, pockets of drought across Lower Michigan. But soil moisture across most of Minnesota and Wisconsin is in good shape, in spite of the transition from El Nino to La Nina, which is often accompanied by drought. Not yet. Map: Aeris Maps Platform.
The Big Thompson Disaster: Reverberations of a Flash Flood, 40 Years Later. Dr. Jeff Masters has the post at WunderBlog: "What began as a celebratory Saturday in the mountains ended in tragedy 40 years ago this weekend, when a catastrophic flash flood ripped through the narrow Big Thompson Canyon of Colorado’s Front Range. A total of 144 people were killed on that Saturday evening, July 31, 1976--the eve of the 100th anniversary of Colorado’s statehood. On just about any summer weekend, the canyons northwest of Denver are packed with vacationers and day-trippers. With the state’s centennial falling on this particular weekend, the mood was especially festive, and the weather seemed no more threatening than on many other summer days. Forecasts through the day called for a 40% to 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms, but there was no particular concern about flood risk. Only a few hours later, critical gaps in weather data, communication, and public awareness had teamed up with a slow-moving deluge to create a true disaster--one that’s had a noteworthy influence on how we deal with flash floods today...."
Image credit: NOAA.
Photo credit: " " Sergei Karpukhin / REUTERS FILE.
Photo credit: University of Illinois-Chicago.
TUESDAY: Wet start, then clearing skies. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 87
WEDNESDAY: Sunny, muggy and hot (enough). Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 71. High: near 90
THURSDAY: More showers and T-storms. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 73. High: 86
FRIDAY: Plenty of sun, less humid. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 67. High: 82
SATURDAY: Sunny, potentially spectacular. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 64. High: 83
SUNDAY: Potentially heavy T-storms arrive. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 65. High: 79
My Turn: Climate Change is a Moral Issue. An Op-Ed at Juneau Empire in Alaska resonated; here's an excerpt: "...Make no mistake: global warming is a religious issue. Climate change is a moral evil on many levels. It stems from overconsumption and is perpetuated by a heedless desire to continue a status quo we know is destructive. It’s a profound injustice, since its initial effects are falling hardest on the poorer members of human society who have done the least to cause it. It is also an injustice to generations newly arrived or yet-to-be born, as there is little harm greater than leaving our descendants a ravaged and exhausted environment. Finally, global warming’s ability to cause mass extinctions of the millions of creatures that share the earth with us reveals a sacrilegious contempt for the creation we were entrusted with. Some may say that this is simply God’s will. We profoundly disagree..."
Warming Waters. So far we haven't seen a significant uptick in hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, but the Pacific (bigger and even warmer) has seen record numbers of extreme category 5 hurricanes and typhoons in recent years. Graphics above: Climate Central.
Image credit: "Greenland ice loss has recently contributed to twice as much sea-level rise than in the preceding two decades." (Reuters).
Global Warming, God and the "End Times". I'm familiar with the Rapture and the Tribulation and what the book of Revelation predicts for the future. Every generation since the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ thought that THEY were the chosen ones living through the End Times. Every one. It's how we're wired, apparently, at least some of us. But using this as an excuse to treat God's Divine Creation like a dirty ATM card doesn't cut it. That's the sin of indifference, gluttony and greed. Nobody gets a free pass to trash Eden - we are called to be stewards. Here's an excerpt from a study at The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication: "For a significant number of Americans, the reality, causes and meaning of global warming are seen through the lens of their religious beliefs. Some reject the evidence that humans are causing global warming because they believe God controls the climate. Others believe that global warming is evidence that the world will be ending soon, and that we don’t need to worry about global warming in light of the approaching apocalypse. To assess the level of acceptance of these beliefs among Americans, we surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,204 American adults in March, 2016..."