Fires, Floods, and Forecasting [Dec 15, 2021]
Huge flames hit central US, heat records are shattered, and it's only the beginning
The above image is a screenshot I took from the NOAA’s alert website for a tornado warning region in the central USA. At this time of year, what we are seeing is extremely unusual.
Here is a screenshot of the NOAA’s alerts page for today (screenshot taken at 7 PM California time)
There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on, but I figured I’d talk about a few major ones.
Just a little bit on Tahoe, because why not. It’s cold and snowy in Tahoe right now, Incline Village will see a low of 8ºF in the next 48 hours as it hits >57ºF in Montreal, Quebec in Canada (very hot for them). Tons of snow and sunny days w/ low temps should create good conditions for those in the area looking to enjoy some time in the snow.
“Schools closed early in Iowa on Wednesday, where record high temperatures reached the lower 70s. On average, high temperatures in December throughout much of Iowa are in the 30s, according to the Weather Service” (NYT). This temperature anomaly is pretty severe so I decided to fact check.
Looking at the temperature bands for today in Iowa, I saw this:
Ignoring the 3 urgent weather alerts, 73ºF high for today seems… high. How high?
High. Very high. The average high for December is 35ºF. Today was 73. A 38ºF temperature anomaly, that is extremely hot for the day. Simply put, if your weather is what you expected it to be today given the time of year it is, add 40ºF degrees to it. This represents how it feels to be living in Burlington, IA right now.
Now, these storms. We will hear more about the high winds and how accurate the forecasting is after the storm passes. Until then, here’s some clips form other phenomena occurring right now.
How about a satellite photograph of the central US with some highlights done by the US Stormwatch?
Videos from Kansas:
After finally getting some rain in California, it’s important to remember that the USA is a huge place and that climate change is happening right in front of us every day.
Climate is, quite literally, the average of weather. Take the weather during December in your hometown for the past 30 years add it all up and then average it over 30 years, and that’s essentially “the climate.”
What we are seeing now, right before our own eyes, is the weather. It is different than what is expected, altering the 30 year average. That is what climate change is. At this point, you can watch your local climate changing in your own backyard with a thermometer.
This storm and high winds will probably have severe agricultural impacts if grain storage and processing facilities are damaged. Stay prepared and follow your local weather alerts. Staying up to date with what is happening around you will give you more time to prepare for unusual weather. And as always, stay safe.