As carbon pollution accumulates in the atmosphere, our weather is growing more intense and unpredictable, threatening the health of the union. Following the freakishly warm and dry start of this January, extreme storms then pummeled the nation:
WASHINGTON ICE STORM: “A monster Pacific Northwest storm coated the Seattle area in a thick layer of ice Thursday and brought much of the state to a standstill, sending hundreds of cars spinning out of control, temporarily shutting down the airport and knocking down so many trees that members of the Washington State Patrol brought chain saws to work. East of Seattle, a man was killed by a falling tree as he was backing an all-terrain vehicle out of a backyard shed, authorities said.” 90,000 customers of Puget Sound Energy lost power.
OREGON FLOODS: With a persistent flow of Pacific moisture targeting the Pacific Northwest, several inches of rain have fallen across the western third of Oregon. Widespread flooding has developed with Salem, Corvallis and Philomath just some of the cities that have dealt with the worst of the rising waters. Torrential rain swept away a car from a grocery store parking lot, killing a mother and her one-year-old son.
NEVADA WILDFIRE: A destructive wildfire erupted shortly after noon on Thursday and raced quickly through the dry countryside surrounding Reno, NV, propelled by wind gusts of 82 mph. At its height, the fire forced evacuation calls for some 10,000 people. The fire destroyed 29 homes over six square miles before a storm on Saturday brought precipitation after the region’s driest winter in recorded history. Reno had no precipitation at all in December.
JANUARY TORNADOES: Last Tuesday, a powerful storm front spawned one EF-1 tornado in metropolitan Louisville, Kentucky, and a second hit near Madison, Indiana. At least 10 tornadoes struck the South overnight Sunday as a powerful storm system moved across the Great Lakes and into southern Canada, killing two in Alabama. The tornadoes were spawned along the southern end of a front that arced through the eastern US like a comma’s tail, bringing severe thunderstorms, hail, and twisters to Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee before moving into Georgia later Monday morning.
Extreme weather is wreaking increasing damage on the people of the United States. With cutbacks in local, state, and federal government services, continued inaction on fighting greenhouse pollution, and ideological opposition to preparing for the ravages of unchecked climate change, the state of our union is under threat.