70% chance of a tornado...
...living with climate change.
As you probably know, an inordinate number of tornados raged through multiple states last week.
The destruction is unimaginable.
Families are faced with having lost everything and having to accept that their communities may never recover.
We spent Friday night listening to tornado sirens. For a few hours, my husband, son, daughter, my mother and I hung out near the basement, just in case. I monitored Facebook for updates. We’ve found social media is much more accurate in these storms than the news. Plus, these community posts can pinpoint the threats only a few miles away.
A few weeks ago, a tornado decimated a town less than 20 miles away. So it wasn’t an idle threat.
This most recent storm spurned a tornado that touched down less than an hour away. The storm had been rated TORCON 7, meaning there was a 70 percent chance we’d have one within 50 miles. Turns out that was 100% true.
The fact is, this once in 100 year series of tornadoes were part of climate change scientists' predictions. The warm weather during December, coming up from the Gulf of Mexico, plus the Arctic cold air pushing its way day, created the perfect breeding ground for this dangerous weather event. The Gulf is only going to get hotter.
It’s pretty much a consensus that extreme weather patterns will continue. 70-degree weather in December, in Missouri, might be nice. But it’s a sign that our climate is changing. That will have disastrous consequences.
The tornado alley is shifting, and I know the sirens will be inevitable in our future. The question is, are we safe?
We live in a valley, surrounded by some of the oldest mountains in America. That means they are comparatively lower and gentler than in others in the United States. Our brick house has stood here since the early 1800s. It’s seen a fair share of bad weather. We have a basement.
But, extreme weather doesn’t respect normal barriers. It doesn’t respect the normal patterns we’ve become accustomed to.
Perhaps I have to accept the inevitability that climate change will affect my family. Maybe not a tornado demolishing our house, but a disaster somewhere else affecting our food supply or supply chain. It makes me sad, thinking that this acceptance will be the norm for my daughter. Unpredictability will be an accepted part of life.
Is it too late? My understanding is there is no way to put this extreme weather back into the bottle. It’s just a matter of how bad we allow it to be.
I’m not sure the answer, but it’s a reasonable question to ask:
Are we at a point of no return?
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