The weather outside is ‘frightful’ and promises to become even more extreme
December 2015 – CLIMATE – It’s been anything but a Merry Christmas for the world, as far as Mother Nature is concerned. Nature is on a rampage and nearly everyone is feeling some degree of her wrath: flooding across the UK, torrential rains and flooding across a large swathe of South America, a searing heat-wave in Australia, raging wildfires in Southern California, the worst El Niño pattern seen in 15 years, unseasonably high temperatures throughout much of the US, storms in the US Southeast, a historic blizzard threatening the Texas panhandle, and 11 people dead from an outbreak of tornadoes that ripped through the Dallas area. All of this is indicative of a planet painfully reeling from the frightening fact that geologic and atmospheric change is pushing its climate to new extremes. Climate extremes are just one harbinger or omen of greater cataclysms to come, like one of the ill-fated riders of the apocalypse heralding a message of impending doom. Today, as the year 2015 draws to a dramatic close, we stand on the eve of a crisis marshaling across the horizon that will have profound implications for all life on planet Earth. –TEP
Storms in Texas turn deadly: Severe storms and tornadoes tore through north Texas, killing at least 11 people in the latest incident of deadly weather in the nation. The storms hit Dallas suburbs Saturday evening, with Garland suffering the most casualties, authorities said. Storms battered the metropolis for hours on end. Lt. Pedro Barineau with the Garland Police Department confirmed Sunday morning that eight people died in the storm that ripped through Garland. Barineau said 15 people were hurt and 600 structures were damaged. –CNN
Severe hailstorm in Arkansas: JONESBORO (KFSM)– Extreme weather battered the Jonesboro, Arkansas area Wednesday (Dec. 23), and that weather is likely to blame for the untimely deaths of dozens of waterfowl. Nash Thomas said he and his friends gathered up 78 feathered victims after a storm producing large hail came through the area. Thomas said in all, they found 68 geese and 10 ducks. The birds were all found within a 25-mile area Jonesboro. Thomas said he and his friends plan to prepare the geese and ducks and give them to the needy. –5 News
Record high temperatures: It was the warmest Christmas Eve on record. Christmas Eve felt more like Memorial Day across much of the eastern United States as temperatures rose between 20 and 35 degrees above average and 5-15 degrees above previous record highs. Records were broken from the Southeast to New England with some areas breaking their previous record high by more than 10 degrees F. Some records were broken from the 1800s. The highs that occurred on Thursday are more typical of late spring and early summer. –Accuweather
Heat-Wave and bushfires in Australia: Melbourne (AFP) – Residents returned on Sunday to charred homes after a Christmas Day bushfire in southern Australia destroyed more than 100 properties, with firefighters bracing for a new heat-wave forecast in the lead-up to the new year. Temperatures were also set to soar again in the lead-up to the New Year, rising to as high as 38 degree Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) in some parts of the state, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. One resident, Tony Maly, recalled his horror as he watched his home and those around it go up in flames on Christmas Day. “It was like the apocalypse,” he told Melbourne’s The Age newspaper late Saturday. “It was something I can’t describe. It was like the world had come to an end. The color of the sun itself was a bright orange.” –Yahoo News
Unprecedented Flooding in UK: Hundreds more people were told to leave their homes in northern England Sunday as Prime Minister David Cameron said more troops would be deployed to protect peoples’ lives and property after weeks of heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding. Cameron said after an emergency Cobra ministerial meeting Sunday that the government would “do whatever is needed” to deal with the crisis. He called the rising waters “unprecedented” and promised a full review of contingency plans in the coming weeks. Police in the York area 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of London advised more than 300 people to leave their homes because of rising river waters. Several hundred had been evacuated the day before in the West Yorkshire and Lancashire regions and officials said thousands had lost power. The number of people affected continues to grow as flooding spreads and impacts cities as well as villages and towns. –ABC News
Worst flooding in South America in 50 years: Vast areas in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil are being hit by the worst flooding in 50 years, forcing the evacuation of more than 150,000 people. Days of heavy rains brought on by the El Nino weather phenomenon have caused three major rivers to swell, and officials report at least six deaths. A state of emergency is in force in Paraguay, the worst hit nation, where 130,000 people have fled their homes. In northern Argentina, some 20,000 people have left their homes. Dry weather is forecast for the Brazil-Uruguay border region in the next few days, but in Paraguay and Argentina water levels are still expected to rise. At least two people have died in the floods, which are mostly affecting the north-eastern provinces of Entre Rios, Corrientes and Chaco. Some 20,000 people have been evacuated in the border city of Concordia, where the Uruguay River is now 14 meters (46 feet) above its normal levels. Local officials said the flooding was the worst in the last five decades. Newly-elected President Mauricio Macri is expected to visit the region later on Sunday. –BBC
Lack of snow puts crops in danger worldwide: The extent of snow across the Northern Hemisphere is alarmingly low, especially considering the increased risk of much colder weather come January. North America, Europe and Western Asia have all been consistently 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average over the past month. Record warmth across the Eastern United States last weekend had residents enjoying weather more typical of late summer. Seasonably mild conditions thus far have led to the lack of vital snow cover across grain and oilseed production regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and widespread snowfall is unlikely through the end of the year.
This leaves winter crops exposed and vulnerable to the elements, and atmospheric indexes are already indicating greater chances for frigid conditions during January and February. At this time last year, snow cover extended into the majority of the winter crop regions of Russia and Ukraine. By Dec. 31, 2014, the Eurasian continent was blanketed in snow from Germany eastward. But right now, almost every winter crop field is without snow in Europe, including Russia and Ukraine, and given the forecast, this is unlikely to change much through the end of the year. The last time Eurasian snow cover was this sparse was 2011, which led to disastrous wheat harvests for Russia and Ukraine in 2012 following a punishing winter and a drought-like spring. –AG Week
Caught On Tape: Dramatic Video Of Trip Through California Wildfire
Firefighters have reportedly “gained the upperhand” in the battle to contain a California blaze that started at around 11 p.m. local time on Friday near Ventura.
On Saturday afternoon, Ventura County officials said the fire was nearing Solimar beach and was "bumping up against the roadway.”
As Reuters reported, “the Solimar Beach community, with 50 to 60 homes, and a nearby campground were under a mandatory evacuation order, while a voluntary one had been issued for the nearby Faria Beach community, where there are 30 to 40 homes.”
The following dramatic video depicts one family’s terrifying trip through the inferno. Or it may depict Janet Yellen driving home after the Fed hike. We’re not entirely sure.