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Stormageddon

October 29, 2012 - Considering that there's an 800 pound gorilla occupying all the available space, I guess we better pay attention to her.  She's big, she's bad, she's ugly: Hurricane Sandy.  From all appearances, she's on target to live up to her advance billing.  Storm of the Century, and then some.  Anything to celebrate here?  Maybe.

First of all, a closer look is in order.  Hurricane Sandy is 1,000 miles across, with sustained winds of 90 mph.  Storm surge will be her worst aspect.  Sandy, moving at a snail's pace, is scooping up and pushing water out ahead of her that may create a water wall 15 feet in height in New York City.  Should subways flood, as they are likely to do, clean up and repairs could take weeks. Furthermore, this hurricane's storm surge will last throughout three - count them, three - high tides, thereby significantly magnifying the effect.

Did you know that a cubic yard of water weighs nearly a ton?  Small wonder that a state of emergency exists in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.  Schools and businesses are, or will soon be, shut down in many areas.  My daughter, who lives in northwest Connecticut, has already lost power; ten million others are slated to do so, as well.  Tropical storm-force winds are being experienced 520 miles outside the center of Sandy.

The winds will take down countless trees.  Until they are moved, power companies will be unable to re-connect electric power.  Homes, streets, and workplaces will all be flooded.  Rivers will overtop their banks.  The uninsured may find themselves living on the streets.  Insurance costs will increase dramatically for the rest of us.  Transition Voice e-magazine reports that meteorologist Mike Smith, of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, is projecting that the bill for the whole megillah could reach $100 billion.

Was I the one who mentioned something about celebrating?  That was me, by golly.  So what on earth am I talking about?  Just this:  the worst storm in a century is even now clobbering the most populous region of our country.  Why?  Global warming, that's why.  Kevin Trenberth, a Distinguished Senior Scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research ( NCAR), tells us that the warmer air which constitutes a small part of the New Normal, can hold, at present, 5 - 10% more moisture than before climate change, depending upon circumstances.  That additional moisture inevitably returns to the earth, this time in the form of a hurricane.

If you were an easterner who had suffered through Hurricane Irene last year and who had optimistically believed that the worst was behind you, wouldn't you be at the point of saying enough is enough?  Wouldn't you, at the very least, be saying, "Gee, there might be something to this global warming business, after all?"  Remembering that James Inhofe had admitted that he did, in fact, believe that climate change was happening, he just didn't want to have to pay for it, wouldn't you be just a little ticked off that YOU were paying for it - in more ways than one??  What I'm trying to say is that I think a lot of people will finally start pointing fingers at Washington while saying, "Do something!"

I hope they say it LOUDLY.



With thanks to Climate Central and Transition Voice for the information in this article.




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