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USA Weather 2011 - a brief overview

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posted on Sep, 4 2011 @ 11:00 AM
This was a local news report I was reading, and it gave some pretty good facts to check out. Link to Article

Last year, the world seemed to go wild with natural disasters in the deadliest year in a generation. But 2010 was bad globally, and the United States mostly was spared.

This year, while there have been devastating events elsewhere, such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Australia's flooding and a drought in Africa, it's our turn to get smacked. Repeatedly.

The insurance company Munich Re calculated that in the first six months of the year there have been 98 natural disasters in the United States, about double the average of the 1990s.

Even before Irene, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was on pace to obliterate the record for declared disasters issued by state, reflecting both the geographic breadth and frequency of America's problem-plagued year.

"If you weren't in a drought, you were drowning is what it came down to," Masters said.

Add to that, oppressive and unrelenting heat. Tens of thousands of daily weather records have been broken or tied and nearly 1,000 all-time records set, with most of them heat or rain related:

_ Oklahoma set a record for hottest month ever in any state with July.

_ Washington D.C. set all-time heat records at the National Arboretum on July 23 with 105 and then broke it a week later with 106.

_ Houston had a record string of 24 days in August with the thermometer over 100 degrees.

_ Newark, N.J., set a record with 108 degrees, topping the old mark by 3 degrees.

Tornadoes this year hit medium-sized cities such as Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. The outbreaks affected 21 states, including unusual deadly twisters in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

And along with the Summer records - there were plenty of Winter records broken also.
Here in Utah on the Uinta Mountains:

On June 26, the snowpack on the southern face of the range was 849 percent above average. The northern face had 892 percent more snow than average.

But it was summed up the way a lot of us forget in the end of this paragraph:

"These events are abnormal," Karl said. "But it's part of an ongoing trend we've seen since 1980."

Individual weather disasters so far can't be directly attributed to global warming, but it is a factor in the magnitude and the string of many of the extremes, Karl and other climate scientists say.

While the hurricanes and tornado outbreaks don't seem to have any clear climate change connection, the heat wave and drought do, said NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt.

This year, there's been a Pacific Ocean climate phenomenon that changes weather patterns worldwide known as La Nina, the flip side to El Nino. La Ninas normally trigger certain extremes such as flooding in Australia and drought in Texas. But global warming has taken those events and amplified them from bad to record levels, said climate scientist Jerry Meehl at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Judith Curry of Georgia Tech disagreed, saying that while humans are changing the climate, these extremes have happened before, pointing to the 1950s.

"Sometimes it seems as if we have weather amnesia," she said.

And another reason it seems so extreme:

Another factor is that people are building bigger homes and living in more vulnerable places such as coastal regions, said Swiss Re's Schrast. Worldwide insured losses from disasters in the first three months this year are more than any entire year on record except for 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck, Schrast said.

Unlike last year, when many of the disasters were in poor countries such as Haiti and Pakistan, this year's catastrophes have struck richer areas, including Australia, Japan and the United States.

So if anything, it's a change in location issue more than a weather pattern issue? Guess it still makes it different than it's been in the past. Why the location changes?

And slightly off the weather topic, but an afterthought that goes with it all....
I was also thinking about some of the earthquake threads on here, and as I was looking at the Earthquake maps, I noticed here in Utah.... we really don't get any earthquakes, and yet we are sitting on a major fault line. As with everyone else, we are hundreds of years overdue for an earthquake, and have been adjusting our structures accordingly - but you would think, that with all the increased activity, we would see more. Not that I'm wishing for it.... it just seems to be the quiet before the storm I guess.
For me, I'm really not worried about the earthquake itself (aka "The Big One"). I'm more worried about what it will do to the massive caldera sitting only a few hundred miles north of Salt Lake City up in Yellowstone. Utah has done a fantastic job at Disaster Preparedness, sitting at one of the top states in the nation for food storage, etc - (considering we don't have disasters to be worried about except an immanent earthquake), so the earthquake itself doesn't seem to be as big of a threat. But if the "big one" hits, you can sure as hell bet it's going to affect the nearby areas, and Yellowstone is DEFINITELY a nearby area. And if that "sleeping" volcano erupts? We can only pray our Mountain Range helps keep us somewhat safe. Who knows, with a bit of luck the earthquake will make our mountains that much taller

(We have a vertical fault line instead of a horizontal)

posted on Sep, 4 2011 @ 11:14 AM
It's been a crazy year for tornadoes - 6 EF5s! 2 really devastating outbreaks (April 25-28 and Joplin) and total damage costs estimated to be over $20 billion

Pretty awesome footage of the Tuscaloosa EF4:

Tornadoes Of 2011
edit on 4/9/2011 by Fazza! because: (no reason given)

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