Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Usual Recriminations...

...that occur after a major wind storm are flying fast and furious today. So, I'm going to try to tackle them with hopes of putting some sanity into the discussions.

The electric utilities aren't moving fast enough. We hear this every time there is a wind storm and the loudest noises seem to be coming from Washington, D.C. (above headline from the Washington Post). 

What possible motivation could an electric utility have for stalling?! A line on the ground is one that isn't making money for them! The storm got to D.C. on a Friday night (when crews have, in some cases, scattered) before a holiday weekend. It takes time for crews from other parts of the country to arrive. Finally, there is a limit to how many crews are available for D.C. since electric service is out as far west as Illinois. For example, 600,000 homes and businesses are still without power in West Virginia, alone. 

Politicians would be much more helpful taking water to the crews working in difficult conditions in sweltering heat rather than adding to the already-plentiful hot air.

We didn't know it was coming. Another "favorite" of meteorologists.  I'm on vacation and generally don't blog about storms when on vacation nor do I blog about severe thunderstorm watches even when I am not because there are so many of them.  But, because I knew this storm was going to be so major, I made an exception. Here is a small part of what I posted on this blog starting at 2:40pm CDT:

Note that wind gusts of 75+mph were forecast to be "likely" and that the watch was issued five hours before the storms reached D.C.! Meteorology did its usual good job of letting people know what was coming. It is not our job to make people pay attention to our warnings. 

Global warming caused these storms. This is all over the internet. Wrong again. In order for that point to be valid, the Friday storms would have to have been unprecedented and world temperatures would have at or near their highest levels Neither is the case. Courtesy of my friend Bob Ryan's blog, we 

have this map of a derecho in 1980 that occurred at the same time to year, took an almost identical path, and produced similar wind speeds (note the 81 mph west of D.C.). Below is a map of earth's temperatures (from the Hadley Center) since 1975.  I've marked the temperatures at the time of both derechoes.

Temperatures are not that much warmer now than they were in 1980 when the earlier derecho occurred. There was no big derecho in in 1998 when temperatures peaked. Given that a nearly identical storm occurred with cooler world temperatures, there is no reason to believe this derecho had anything to do with global warming. 

With all of this said, please check on your neighbors, volunteer at a cooling center, or invite people without power into your home if you have power and air conditioning.  


  1. Tonight (Monday July 2nd) Bill Nye the Science Guy is on MSNBC's The Ed Show saying this, along with the wildfires are proof of global warming. They also had a clip on a Washington DC weatherman saying on TV that this was all global warming related.

    Mike B

  2. Just ridiculous. Thanks for the comment.


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