Is It Me…Or Are We Having A Ton Of Severe Weather Lately?

Good afternoon everyone. Well, things in the tropics are tranquil at the moment, which gives me an opportunity to reflect on some of the things we’ve been seeing with the weather on the television. As the title of this article states, is it just me, or have we been seeing an incredible amount of severe weather this year, particularly this summer? It seems like everyday I turn on CNN, or any other news outlets, there is always some severe weather event occurring in the country. Outside of Hurricane Dean this past week, there was flooding in the Great Plains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin. Oklahoma and Texas were hit very hard. Those rains didn’t stop there either.

Instead, the storm system that Erin’s remains joined up with produced devastating and deadly flooding in the Midwest including Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, and Iowa. As of Friday, August 24th, there were 26 reported dead from the severe weather that included three deaths from lightning. That Friday then saw four tornadoes including an EF3 twister on the Enhanced Fujita Scale roll through several counties in the Detroit suburbs in Michigan. In addition, we still are just getting rid of the remnants of Hurricane Dean as they have brought increased humidity and thunderstorm activity to portions of Southern California including San Diego, a place not known for either.

Add that to some of the recent severe weather that affected the New York Metropolitan area recently including an EF2 Tornado that rolled through the Borough of Brooklyn in New York City, and it has made me wonder. Are we going through a period of increased severe weather activity? Is it being produced by global warming, or is it a part of a cyclical pattern? Maybe it is just the extensive media coverage and technology that we have today. But there just seems to be an endless litany of storms, heat waves, drought, and brush fires occurring. Moreover, it is not just limited to the United States. Over the past few days, brush fires started by arsonists in Southern Greece has killed 51 people, and is now threatening the treasured and historic Olympia site, where the idea of the modern Olympics originated from.

Ironically, we are not in the midst of an El Niño pattern, which dissipated earlier this year after wreaking havoc in 2006 including decreased hurricane and tropical activity in the Atlantic. Yet, we are having a severe heat wave in the Southeastern United States, devastating floods in North Korea that killed some 600 people, and only our fifth named storm, first hurricane, and major hurricane in the Atlantic within the past week. Today holds the potential for more severe weather as a frontal boundary pushing out searing heat and humidity, and bringing in a touch of fall, will be bringing showers and strong to severe storms to the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.

While there are more ways to detect severe weather, and collect data and information pertaining to our weather, it just seems as if we are in a relentless period of rough weather throughout the United States, and many other parts of the world. I have had discussions with many people about the weather, and some of these people are from different parts of the world including India, Africa, and the Middle East, and the general theme I get from these conversations is what is happening with the weather? These people tell me of situations happening in their homeland that either never happened before, or very rarely happened. Stories like how the monsoon pattern seems to be stronger than usual across India, and not just in places that usually get plenty of rain such as Cherrapunji, but areas that are usually much drier. I talked with a former co-worker that is originally from Iran about the two rare cyclones that threatened the Arabian Peninsula including Oman as well as Southeastern Iran earlier this year. He had never recalled that happening before.

The 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season brought much of our concerns about global warming and greenhouse gases to the forefront. It also increased an already heightened media scrutiny about the weather. With media outlets such as the Weather Channel along with weather services such as AccuWeather, WeatherPlus, NEMAS, and WeatherBug, there are a great deal of eyes focused on weather. Along with hurricanes, severe weather events are documented more thanks to satellite, radar, and other weather related technologies. People are also able to use cell phones, digital cameras, and digital video recorders to document severe weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards, and post it to sites such as YouTube, CNN, ABC, and the Weather Channel.

One thing is for sure, man is becoming more observant of the weather around him, and our times are seeing the effects and benefits of that. Not only are we seeing the devastation and deadly consequences of our abuse of nature, but we now have more than enough evidence to discuss it, and compel change to come about.