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Experts warn epic weather ravaging US could worsen

June 29, 2011 Comments off

rawstory

CHICAGO — Epic floods, massive wildfires, drought and the deadliest tornado season in 60 years are ravaging the United States, with scientists warning that climate change will bring even more extreme weather.

The human and economic toll over just the past few months has been staggering: hundreds of people have died, and thousands of homes and millions of acres have been lost at a cost estimated at more than $20 billion.

And the United States has not even entered peak hurricane season.

“This spring was one of the most extreme springs that we’ve seen in the last century since we’ve had good records,” said Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

While it’s not possible to tie a specific weather event or pattern to climate change, Arndt said this spring’s extreme weather is in line with what is forecast for the future.

“In general, but not everywhere, it is expected that the wetter places will get wetter and the drier places will tend to see more prolonged dry periods,” he told AFP.

“We are seeing an increase in the amount (of rain and snow) that comes at once, and the ramifications are that it’s a lot more water to deal with at a Read more…

Joplin storm contained a rare multivortex tornado

May 25, 2011 Comments off

kansascity

Shawn and Joella Zaccarello of Joplin pitched in Tuesday to help sort through the damage of their uncle’s home, which was destroyed by Sunday evening’s tornado that swept through the city’s central section. DAVID EULITT
Shawn and Joella Zaccarello of Joplin pitched in Tuesday to help sort through the damage of their uncle’s home, which was destroyed by Sunday evening’s tornado that swept through the city’s central section.

JOPLIN, Mo. | The death toll from Sunday’s tornado has risen to 122, making it the eighth-deadliest tornado in U.S. history, the National Weather Service said.

The Joplin twister was upgraded to EF-5, the strongest category on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with winds exceeding 200 mph. The storm was apparently a “multivortex” tornado, with two or more small and intense centers of rotation orbiting the larger funnel, a rare occurrence.

It’s the country’s deadliest storm since 1950.

The number of those still missing isn’t known because many have left Joplin to stay with relatives and friends. Rescue Read more…

Joplin, Mo., tornado witness: ‘Swath cut through town is huge’

May 23, 2011 Comments off

latimes

Joplin

Emergency personnel walk through a neighborhood severely damaged by a tornado near the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo. (Mark Schiefelbein / Associated Press / May 22, 2011)

In the moments between the first and second tornado sirens that sounded the warning in Joplin, Mo., on Sunday evening, Sara Ferguson knelt in prayer inside a church classroom.

The congregation of Citywide Christian Fellowship Church had been in the middle of services when a few parishioners who’d been keeping watch on the darkening skies outside came back to say it was time to seek safety.

“There was a bit of hail and it was raining terrible,” said Ferguson, 50, who was reached by phone. “We’re up on a hill and the men who stayed at the door watched the tornado pass by a few blocks from us.”

Once it was over, she and her husband made their way to their home, passing a scene of unfathomable destruction. A trip that typically takes 10 minutes lasted an hour and a half.

“I cried the whole way,” she said.

They dodged downed power lines. They passed St. John’s Regional Medical Center, where it “looked like bomb Read more…

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