Probably, you’re hot right now. Or soaked. Or in the darkness. Or frightened. Or all of the above. Phrases like “ring of fire” have entered the weather lexicon beside “heat dome,” “polar vortex,” “atmospheric river” and “bombogenesis” (also known as a “bomb cyclone,” because that isn’t terrifying or anything) to try and explain the bedlam weather affecting basically every one of the contiguous 48 states.
That’s cool, I guess; I’ve always been a Johnny CashSocial Distortion is a fan and I love it cover. It requires electricity to hear them, though, and for about 500,000 people in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, that’s not an option at present. The power will not be restored for the foreseeable future. During rush hour in Chicago there was a tornado alert. Wind speeds of over 80 miles an hour were recorded as storms swept the region. One storm that swept through Fort Wayne was almost 70,000ft high.
“The heat dome is centered near Nashville,” reports The Washington Post. “It has established dozens of high temperature records since it first formed late last week over Texas and the Southwest. Temperatures soared to as high as 123 degrees in Death Valley, Calif., while Phoenix hit 114 and Las Vegas 109 over the weekend.”
The rest of the year, however, will be PostMany cities also set Monday high-temperature records
Austin and San Antonio made it to 105…. Lincoln, Neb. Columbia, S.C. (103), Austin (102) and St. Louis (109) set records for Monday’s June 13th. North Platte, Neb., hit 108 degrees — not just a daily record, but the highest temperature ever recorded there during the month of June.
Yellowstone National Park is currently closed due to flooding in large areas. eating houses. Roads through the park have been obliterated, bridges have collapsed, with mud and rockslides battering what’s left. The park has been closed to all visitors, but it is unknown how many may still be in the backcountry. All entrances have been shut down.
“The US Geological Survey on Monday said the Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs stage increased by about 6 feet in the past 24 hours,” reports Axios, “which is above the National Weather Service’s flood stage. In fact, it roseTo an unprecedented level, over 2 feet higher than its previous all-time record flood in 1918, according to the NWS.”
According to The New York TimesWeather-related damage has wiped out a large portion of the park’s tourist season, with no hope of change.
“Devastating rain and mudslides that tore out bridges, flooded homes and forced some 10,000 people to evacuate will keep the northern reaches of Yellowstone National Park, one of the nation’s most-visited natural wonders, cut off to tourists for the rest of the busy summer travel season. And officials warned that more rain and flooding could be on the way.”
Then there are the firesAgain, these massive infernos are now spread across six states. The contiguous 48 don’t stand alone in this situation. Alaska is currently suffering 23 serious infernos. The record-setting heat has caused a multi-state drought that has been exacerbated in places like Arizona, California, and New Mexico.
The existential issue of water availability is officially pressingIt is no longer something that can be ignored. Multiple states are experiencing water shortages, and Lake Mead is one of the most prominent. — The once-colonial reservoir that provided water for some 20 million people was once huge. — almost extinct. Utah’s Great Salt Lake is slowly drying up, setting up the stage for clouds of arsenicDust to blow in from the lake bed.
Chalk it all up to anthropogenic climate disruption (Read: We did this to ourselves), the monster that sat under the mattress for years before finally taking over the room. The evidence of human-made climate change is now so brazenly obvious that the denier camp has moved from “It’s not real” to “It can’t be fixed,” marking another milestone in their eternal quest to be not one bit helpful in salvaging the situation if there’s still a buck to be made from fossil fuels.
Here’s how it works for much of the west: Drought leads to lower and occasionally non-existent snowfall in the mountains. The snowfall that was accumulated would melt and provide water to the various states. Now, summers are dry because there is no snow. If snow is not present, extreme heat causes it melt too quickly, leading in flooding calamities such as the one that is currently raging Yellowstone.
“Suffice it to say,” climate reporter Dahr Jamail wrote in Truthout in July of 2019, “all of us now, if we live long enough, are likely to become climate refugees at some point … whether it be from lack of food and water, rising seas, wildfires, smoke, or extreme weather events. For many, their time as climate refugees has already begun.”
The future is now. It is hot, thirsty and windy. This truth is baked into tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow again. It won’t get any better. It all depends on us.