More Weather

June 16, 2015

BW photograph of three trees with storm clouds building overhead

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Tropical Storm Bill is thrashing Texas with excessive winds and torrential rains.  Texas is one of the states that had been particularly hard hit by storms throughout a month, May 2015 that was recently proclaimed by NOAA to have been the wettest on record.  In a related note, NOAA had earlier predicted the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season to be “below normal“.  NOAA’s Administrator added an important clarification to that forecast when she said the following, which is excerpted from the second link above:

““A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. As we’ve seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., referring to the 1992 season in which only seven named storms formed, yet the first was Andrew – a Category 5 Major Hurricane that devastated South Florida…”

So far in 2015, there have already been two named storms, Ana and now Bill; neither of which made landfall as hurricanes.  It is important to note, though, that while hurricanes and tropical storms garner headlines due to their relatively rare occurrence and the extreme damage wrought, May 2015 provided an ample demonstration of the cumulative effect of incessant rain.

Stepping back, the contrast between the current weather patterns in Texas and those of the past few years is quite striking.  NOAA published this report in 2012, which described the predictions regarding the risk to Texas (and the rest of the country) of increased heat due to the rise of greenhouse gases. That report also explains some of the inherent issues with computer modeling, as there are many variables that come into play when doing so.  Even with the high degree of technological sophistication that computer modeling brings, it is still difficult to make long-term predictions about the weather.

Take care.

 

 

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