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Originally posted by Pharyax
This may be reaching, but with those massive 9.0 quakes (Japan, and the 2004 event), it changed the speed of the rotation of the planet by a few 0.xxx microseconds. I wonder... could this effect the weather? I doubt such tiny change would, but we don't know.
About the stronger storms. This is something that has been theorized for a while now - and something I have believed would happen as well. It's 3rd grade science at it's root.
The main problem is that the pacific waters are warmer- which moves the Jet Stream into a new track -higher latitudes in the northwest and then this odd dipping loop into the center of the country. This is pulling down colder air than normal from the upper atmosphere. At the same time the Gulf area is warmer and the Jet Stream is creating low pressure systems which act like a 'vacuum' - sucking the warmer very moist Gulf air into collision course with the cold air over a large area.
Basically it is a result of warmer ocean waters overall. But this pattern is now in place - possibly for the rest of the season.
This is a picture I took in the aftermath of the Cullman, Alabama, tornado. This 2x10 or so wooden beam just punched through the concrete block wall. My wife works for one of the local businesses. This is right behind the building she works in. Luckily the owner decided to close up shop before the weather got bad. It's amazing to me the power a tornado has.
If anyone is curious amidst all the rumors, most of Cullman is still there. The tornado did indeed cut a swath of destruction straight through the middle of the town, but the significant damage was contained within about a block's width. Many trees are down outside this path of course, but most buildings are not damaged significantly outside of that block width path.
Ryan Nicholls with the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management has confirmed there are 24 fatalities in the wake of a tornado touching down in Joplin. The number of injuries is unknown. Damage was widespread across the city's south side. John Campbell, operations director for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, confirmed fatalities have been reported. Phone communications in and out of the city were largely cut off.