StormFront: Weather on Steroids
We’ve been hearing about the destruction tornadoes have caused in the Midwest and other states like Virginia and North Carolina. So far, Over 150 people have died within a 4 day span and hundreds have lost their homes due to the destruction and havoc these storms have caused. It’s like, lately, the weather has been taking steroids. So is this due to global warming fears?
Just for a little background tip on what causes thunderstorms and tornadoes. Thunderstorms are caused when air mass in the lower layers are unusually warm and humid and the upper layers are cool or both warm and cool. Pockets of air in this air mass expand and cool and the water vapor formed, condenses into a cloud, releasing heat. This makes the air pocket even warmer and forces it even higher in the atmosphere. This process continues until a tall convection cloud(the thunderstorm) is formed. These clouds are called cumulonimbus clouds. The upper portion of the storm is made of ice, hail, and snow and ends up as rain reaching the surface. There must be enough water vapor for the storm to form along with heat since this serves as the fuel for thunderstorms. So with all this, were does the lightning come from? Lightning must be produced in order for a storm to be called a thunderstorm. It is generated by electrical charges in clouds in storms. Storms stabilize the atmosphere by using excess water vapor and cooling lower level temperature and warming upper level temperature.
Tornadoes, on the other hand, are rotating columns of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornadoes occur all over the world, but are more prevalent in the US east of the Rocky Mountains in the spring and summer. They mostly form from thunderstorms moving through moist, humid air in advance of east moving cold fronts. These thunderstorms frequently form as air near the ground flows upslope towards higher terrain. If favorable conditions exists, a tornado is formed. Two or more tornadoes may occur in the same storm system. Now lets get to some facts, 69% of all tornadoes are weak tornadoes, meaning winds are less than 110mph, cause about 5% deaths, and last about less than 10 minutes. Strong tornadoes make up about 29% and winds are anywhere between 110mph an 205 mph. Thy last about 20 minutes an cause 30% of deaths. Violent tornadoes are only about 2% of all tornadoes. They cause 70% of all tornado deaths and can last over an hour. The average tornado movies from southwest to northwest but have been known to move in any direction. Precautionary information can be found here such as what to do if caught in a tornado such as hiding in your basement and going to the lowest point of your home.
So with all this said, can this be attributed to global warming? For the record, yes, and we have reached a tipping point. It’s here and it’s real. No need for the jury on this one. And is it me, or have we not had any spring weather at all? It seems like we jumped from cold and frigid, to hot and stanky. And it’s man made. At least some of it has to be. Remember Hurricane Katrina and the damage and destruction that has caused? Ok, thats due to the levy breach but that storm was a category 5 storm and reached category 4 status when it reached land. It has caused 1,836 deaths and cost us over $90 billion dollars. Last month, Joplin, MO was hit with a powerful EF5 multiple vortex tornado resulting in 141 deaths and about %20 of the city destroyed. Homes were flattened, people were trapped in rubble, and about 3 billion dollars in damage resulted. Crazy a$$ weather is not just happening here..remember the heatwave in Europe back in 2003 that resulted in 35,000 deaths? Temps there soared to 104 degrees and remained high for 2 weeks. Sure we’d like to think that Europeans are a bunch of p*ssies, but that’s even too hot for me. Along with that humidity, hell, they might as well be living here on the east coast during the summer time. Over the last 25 years, global temps have risen by 1 degree Fahrenheit. They are expected to rise more over land than sea where people live. As temps continue to rise, heat waves will increase in countries, certainly not used to them and not prepared to handle them and deaths could jump by the tens of thousands in 20 years.
So with all that said, we know what needs to be done and responsibilities in place…