Record snowfall is now falling in the Washington D.C.-Baltimore region, with accumulation expected to shatter the 1922 Washington record of 28 inches and the 1993 Baltimore record of 26.8 inches of snow. The storm is leaving destruction in its wake, with tornado watches in Florida and ice storms expected in North Carolina. In Virginia, towns are struggling to decide how to pay for snow removal, as their budgets have been blown through by previous storms.
In response, the Virginia Republican Party has ads that mock Rep. Rick Boucher and Rep. Tom Periello — both Democrats in conservative districts who support climate legislation — because they “think global warming is a serious problem for Virginia…so serious they voted to kill tens of thousands of Virginia jobs just to stop it.” The ad “features images of falling snow, stuck cars, and weathermen,” and urges viewers to call the congressmen “and tell them how much global warming you get this weekend”:
Call Boucher and Perriello and tell them how much global warming you get this weekend. Maybe they’ll come help you shovel.
In reality, catastrophic “snowpocalypse” and “snowmageddon” events are exactly what scientists have been warning would hit Virginians because of global warming, in part because warmer air can hold more water. As National Wildlife Federation climate scientist Amanda Staudt notes, winter storms are getting fiercer even as the season gets warmer:
— Wintertime temperatures have been increasing across the northern United States. Since the 1970s, December-February temperature increases have ranged from 1 to 2 degrees in the Pacific Northwest to about 4 degrees in the Northeast to more than 6 degrees in Alaska.
— Winters are getting shorter, too. Spring arrives 10-14 days earlier than it did just 20 years ago.
— Global warming is bringing a clear trend toward heavier precipitation events. Many areas are seeing bigger and more intense snowstorms, especially in the upper Midwest and Northeast.
— Global warming is shifting storm tracks northward. Areas from the Dakotas eastward to northern Michigan have seen a trend toward more heavy snowfall season.
In other news, this past month of January was the warmest on record for the planet.