The Recent Strange Weather of 2015 and Upcoming in 2016
From violent tornados ripping through the Midwest, to snow on the beach, 2015 has proven to be one of the weirdest weather years of all. In fact, records warm temperatures have been set this winter. Even Christmas morning was warmer than any other morning in December. Not only was it warm, nearly everywhere in America, some places had seen 70 or 80 degree weather Christmas week. Even weirder are the temperature records were set earlier in the morning, rather than in the afternoon as the sun has hit its highest point. In fact, the record was broke 4 days in a row, and then again later on in the month near the final week of December. Given the warm temperatures, the season’s first snow for many areas has been severely delayed and has been appearing in the weirdest places (the beach for example). In fact, many areas have set a record for the longest first snow fall in winter. Additionally a lot of areas will suffer the least days of freezing temperatures recorded, also setting a record in New York City, for example. In the end, more than 6 thousand temperature records were set this winter.
A “Super El Niño” was previously in the fall of 2015 predicted for the approaching winter. El Niños spreads a huge wave of heat, bringing warmth and humidity easterly. When the temperature on the surface of the Pacific Ocean raises at least half a degree above its usual temperature a special mix of temperatures and climatic changes can push the warm air eastward. Some forecasted a very hot winter in Canada, where El Niños typically are most influential; however, ultimately this El Niño has affected the United States greatly. This year, the temperature on the surface of the Pacific ocean rose 2-3 degrees more than it’s norm (this is very abnormal). This El Niño was so strong, temperatures in the United States felt like summer! Some have even called it “tropical”. Winter weather always comes afterwards still, snow will come to most areas and cold temperatures will be achieved. Sometimes, as with past El Niños, it can bring fiercely cold temperatures as well, even piercing, frigid rains; therefore it is best to be prepared for anything!
Before the winter months of late 2015, the weird weather had already begun back in the early months of 2015. For example, in March, there were zero tornado or thunderstorm watches. There was not even a SINGLE severe storm watch in March 2015 anywhere in the United States (that’s really weird). Whereas in March of 2014, there were 20 and in March of 2013, there were 18. Maybe, with all the weird weather lately, something is going on… End Times?
More Weird Weather in the United States
The weird mix of weather causes for a number of supercell thunderstorms which have wreaked havoc across eastern Texas region. These wild and ripping storms have spawned several tornadoes in the area throughout 2015, taking the lives of many people. These tornadic supercells are violent to say the least and were able to spawn in the winter time in texas due to the abnormally high temperatures. This ambitious, cyclonic weather reached far beyond Texas; tornadoes formed all along the stretch between a southern Mississippi and a northern Michigan.
In summer of 2015, Canada had a terrible wildfire which produced a great deal of smoke…smoke that has never before worked its way all the way to Washington D.C.! Indeed, smoke from over 1,600 miles away floated all the way to the capital of the United States, which is an especially deep infiltration and extremely strange.
The winter of 2014-2015 dropped approximately double their average snowfall upon the North Eastern United States (90+ inches). This weather proved to stun many businesses, and kept so many people snowed into their homes for, in some cases weeks on end. This unexpected snowfall made staying at home a survival situation. Those who did not properly prepare risk: starvation, hypothermia and other cold stresses. Hypothermia comes from extreme exposure to cold temperature and essentially defines a condition in which the body has been losing more heat than retaining for a prolonged period. Snow storms are especially dangerous as they may cause clothes to wet, which induces hypothermia more quickly. When the body’s skin temperature is so low internal body temperature drops, the body is officially unable to warm itself and it is referred to as cold stress. Hypothermia is a potential result of cold stress. Other potential risks include cold-related illnesses, trench foot, frostbite and other injuries. February in fact was the coldest winter month in several places in New York since 1903 and similar average low records were set around the United States. Although the winter at the end of 2015 has been very warm, the winter was COLD in early 2015. In late winter 2014 a critical snow storm struck Buffalo, New York killing 13 people and stranding dozens more. Roofs collapsed from the weight, and homes, vehicles and property were destroyed. Buffalo received nearly a year’s snowfall in roughly 3 days, nearly 90 inches in some places. Blizzards are dangerous and deadly. Being prepared for the cold temperatures and emergencies is imperative as all regions can receive incredibly abnormal, life-threatening weather.
Meanwhile in other parts of the world, Antarctica sets record breaking highs. Literally the continent was seeing 60 degree weather in more than one region. Not only did the temperatures exceed the records for the regions, but also for the entire continent.
Four cyclones (hurricanes/typhoons, etc) formed in the eastern hemisphere on March 12th 2015, all at the same time. This has only happened a total of 3 times; once in 1893, once more in 1998, and now again in 2015. This is rare. Is it starting to happen more often? It gets worse. In July 12th of 2015, 6 cyclones formed at the same time. This has never before happened, the only close occurrence in the history of weather was in 1972, where 5 formed at once. Why are all these records getting broken now? These storms were no joke and caused some serious damage in some cases. They are dangerous and can kill. Preparation and planning is important, as well as remaining informed. The weather seems to be getting worse and more threatening.
In 2015, on Mother’s day Tropical Strom Ana broke a record of its own: earliest tropical storm to touch Atlantic coast land. This storm led to immense flooding on the east coast, especially in North Carolina. More land records, cyclonic in nature, include a May 31st haboob with a noticeable spin to it. A haboob is a dust storm, common in desert regions…however, they usually move in one direction…this haboob appeared to be combined with a tornado.
In 2014 the north western United States received unusual rainfall. This rain was grayish in color and thicker than normal water. Most people reported it looking like dirty milk. Some people speculated this was volcanic ash from an eruption in the distance, as the ash does travel (see What Happens When The Yellowstone Supervolcano Erupts for more information). Other theories pointed to the Canadian wildfires. Washington State University suggested after performing a study that the pollution was coming from a dust storm picked up speed rushing through a nearby local lake, Summer Lake, which had been semi-dry. Supposedly, the contamination was dirt from this lake. Regardless, contaminated water is a problem and it is important to know how to purify and filter your own water.
While some regions of the world are receiving lots of rainfall, and sometimes contaminated rainfall, other regions are suffering severe drought. In Texas, reservoirs reached extreme lows during spring 2015. It was considered a “stage 5 drought catastrophe”. Oklahoma suffered similar fate. Both states were bailed out in mid-June 2015 when massive rainfall combined with a tropical storm caused a series of flash flooding all throughout the area. This turned the drought into flood.
On December 27th 2015 a severe snowfall in New Mexico and freezing rainfall in Oklahoma was accompanied by wind gusting more than 70 mph. There was no visibility (similar to the November 2014 Buffalo NY blizzard). By many reports, this included not being able to see your hand held out in front of your face. Over a foot of snow collected in New Mexico. Tens of thousands of Oklahomans lost power. Even Texas suffered nearly 10 inches of snow, closing in on previous records for winter snowfall also caused by previous (yet recent) El Niños. This same weekend brought about severe flooding to both: Illinois and Missouri, racking a death toll by itself of 13 after 10 inches of dangerous, heavy rainfall. One of the deaths came from a car being swept away right off the road and then sinking in a swollen nearby creek, claiming the occupant as a fatality. Arkansas also suffered freezing rainfall which led to flooding. This situation is not over and will continue to cause disastrous effects to agriculture (crops etc), commute (to work and travel) and economics (prices of goods and food). It may cost over 2 billion dollars to respond to (flood gates must be opened, among other things), including the costs of repair and reconstruction.
All of this crazy weather has been contributing to crop damage, economic depression, and a weather-related death toll. So many weather fatalities have occurred in the United States, 40 alone in the last week of the year even. This is the second most fatal December ever recorded (losing to December 1931).
A Brief History of the U.N. Climate Summit
The United Nations began the Climate Summit in 1995, first meeting in Berlin. These meetings were decided to be annual and focus on assessing the progress being made to prevent climate change. An additional goal was to determine the appropriate rules for emission of greenhouse gases in developed countries (the United States for example). This set of rules would be known as the Kyoto Protocol. The first few meetings were about exactly that, however, the responsibilities and “assessments” have appeared to grow fairly consistently every year.
The U.N. Paris Climate Change Conference 2015
Many of the attendees of the U.N. Paris Climate Summit in 2015 seem to recognize the truth: global warming is a major problem and could be causing a lot of issues (if not presently then in the future, though it would certainly explain the mischievous weather we have been experiencing lately). There are many notable persons, like Mr. Laurent Fabius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, who explains they understand if action is not taken soon it may be too late; additionally, they understand that the public expects an answer and regulation. However, many other notable people still seem to be blind to the real damage climate change is causing. These more laid back individuals believe that trying to better measure the damage and attain progress overtime is the best plan (palm to the forehead). The United Nations made the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement on December 12th, 2015, which is meant to reduce global warming. Specifically the agreement attempts to keep the increase of average temperature around the globe to below 2 degrees Celsius and recognizes that this would seriously reduce the impact of global warming. If global warming and emissions have gotten so bad that we have to form a committee with the sole purpose of keeping the global temperature from rising, things must be bad.
But it makes sense…
Viewing a chart for example of automobile sales from 1990 to 2015, one can clearly see a very steady rise in purchases. More cars sold in 2012-2015 (just 3 years) than the past 21 years before combined (1990-2011) times three! NO WONDER GLOBAL WARMING IS A PROBLEM! As if matters were not already bad enough, car companies seem care less about global warming (hence the recent Volkswagen-Audi emissions scandal of 2015). The U.N. knows that this is a problem, the leaders of the world can see the data and unfortunately the goals seem very unambitious…especially shameful considering ambition is what got us into this mess to begin with (the ambition to make more money). Waiting until 2020 to attain a solution is not acceptable and too much damage will be caused by then.
This means you must be prepared for the natural disasters which are increasing in modern times.
Being Prepared for Extreme Natural Disasters & Extreme Weather
Unfortunately, natural disasters are increasing at a steady pace. Many scientists seem to agree that this is partly caused from man-made contributions. Since the world seems to be driven on money, not consideration for others, we can expect there to be even more hurricanes, even more tornados, and even more tsunamis. There will be more droughts, more floods, more wildfires, and more snow storms. You must be prepared.
Here is a list of General Emergency Survival Equipment that is considered a MUST HAVE:
· 4 Liters of Emergency water, bottled or canteen
· 2 Way radios (This is a good choice on Amazon: Retevis H-777 Walkie Talkies with Earpiece (3 Pack))
· 2 Week supply (minimum) MREs (Meals ready to eat)
· 9 Inch linesman pliers
· 30 feet of Rope
· A.M. radio
· Beanie (sweater type hat)
· C.B. radio (Here is a powerful CB on Amazon: Uniden 40-Channel CB Radio (PRO505XL))
· Duct tape
· Eye goggles (safety goggles)
· H.A.M. radio (An awesome pair on Amazon: Baofeng 2-Pack Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio )
· Fire starting kit or flint and steel set
· Gloves (leather)
· Hand tools (hammer, screw drivers, etc)
· Knives (2 minimum)
· Matches (always, even with fire starter kit such as this one: Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter)
· Medicine (pain killers, etc)
· Multi-tool (like a swiss army knife)
· Respirator (particulate and chemical)
· Spare batteries (having a Combo Pack is smart!)
· Super vitamin (these are good for getting all of your nutrients in a tough situation)
· Warm clothing
· Water purification tablets (or a portable water purification system)
Many people fit most of this equipment in what they call a “bug out bag”, something they can grab in a hurry in the event of an emergency. I prefer to call it an emergency survivalist bag. Regardless of what you call it, having a bag that is light enough to run with, but thorough enough to save your life is critical in surviving some of history’s most brutal weather catastrophes. Not all of these suggested items need to be put in your emergency survival bag, however, depending upon the disaster, some items may be more desired than others and they can be interchanged.
Here are some of the best suggestions for remaining universally prepared:
- Prepare and store a survival seed bank
- Prepare and construct or at least plan a survival garden
- Have a plan for water filtering and purification
- Learn how to survive underground
- Learn how to survive without electricity
- Study up on the essential nutrients and minimum calories a body needs
- Understand the different types of MREs and what would be ideal for your location
With the appropriate preparation, you can survive anything. But it takes planning and effort in advance.
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