South Carolina Floods
I haven’t said much about this partly because there is so much good coverage, but South Carolina’s floods, still ongoing, are going to get on the list of worst weather events of 2015. Since these floods are amounting to a one in 1,000 year event, they are actually on the list of worst weather events since Vladimir the Great died, Cnut the Great invaded Enlgand (unrelated event), Eric Haakonsson outlaws berzerkers in Norway, and Olaf Haraldson declared himself King of Norway.
And yes, that event was climate change enhanced in at least two ways, maybe three. With global warming there is more moisture in the atmosphere and in large parts of North America it seems that this moisture is often clumped up into longer term slow moving rain systems. That was going on in the region for days. Then, the strength, size, and wetness of hurricane Joaquin, which indirectly fed moisture into the system, was enhanced by very high sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic. Also, those sea surface temperatures have generally increased the punch from Atlantic based storms. All in all, it is likely that South Carolina, the neighbor of the state that is famous for making climate change illegal, and who’s congressional delegation refused to help the victims of Super Storm Sandy, got walloped by climate change.
Fortunately for the good people of South Carolina, our federal government does not act cynically and help is on the way. But next time we are called to help a storm impacted region, we expect South Carolina to put their big kid pants on and step up to the plate.
Oh No, Oho!
The storm formerly known as Oho, a Category 2 eastern Pacific hurricane, is in the process of doing something that does not happen very often: Slamming into British Columbia and Alaska. I’m told this is only the second time a tropical storm, in a post-tropical state, has followed a track like this.
Probably not a big deal for a region where serious windy and wet storms are common. But this is yet another case of the tropics breaking out of their usual pattern as a result, likely, of climate change combined with this year’s ongoing El Nino. Certainly, warm sea surface temperatures (which are everywhere there is sea) have helped this system maintain strength as it has moved north.
Here in Minnesota, famous for winters that start in October, we will be experiencing a summer like weekend. Global warming plus El Nino has exacerbated an ongoing trend of warming falls. Too bad some of our garden plants respond more to changes in sunlight than to changes in temperature, or we might not be eating fried green tomatoes for dinner tonight.
More hurricanes to come?
Meanwhile keep an eye on the Eastern Pacific. Two more disturbances are developing with reasonable (though not certain) chances of becoming tropical storms. 18-E is very likely to become a hurricane by early Sunday morning, and if so it will be called Pali. Disturbance Number 1, just getting going, has about a 50% chance of becoming a tropical storm over the next five days. All quiet in the Atlantic, the rest of the Pacific, or the Indian Ocean.
In case you were wondering about the climate change – hurricane link, this might be of interest to you: