Life in the Dark After Another Storm System
Climate change? Wind-driven storms raced across the Great Plains on Wednesday, causing historic flooding. Tornadoes were reported in at least two states, and Minnesota received its first tornado warning in December in the state's history.
Hundreds of thousands of people were without power in the Midwest on Thursday morning due to a strong storm system that smashed into the central United States overnight. The incident resulted in the death of at least one individual.
According to PowerOutage.us, which collects data from utilities around the country, the state with the highest number of power outages was Michigan, which had more than 240,000 outages, according to the data collected. According to the utility, another 148,000 people were without electricity in Wisconsin, and more than 50,000 customers were without electricity in Iowa.
In less than a week, tornadoes raced through Kentucky and five other states, killing at least 88 people and injuring hundreds. On Thursday, the storm system was forecast to make its way across the border into Canada.
This year has seen fewer tornadoes than usual, with more frequent outbreaks in the cooler months and the Southeast than the Great Plains. Tornadoes also seem to be strengthening.
The reason for these changes in tornado behavior is yet unclear. However, according to the National Tornado Center, global warming is likely to have a role through changes in the ecosystems that support supercell clusters. The additional heated moist air that fueled the supercells on Friday was explicitly related to the increasing warmer Gulf of Mexico due to climate change.
Over the period 1994 to 2016, we discovered that tornado power, as measured by damage path characteristics, grew at a rate of 5 percent each year on average. At least a portion of the rising tendency can be attributed to changes in the outbreak's climate factors. The relationship between increasing warmth and wind shear is also related to more significant outbreaks, which create tornadoes with the greatest strength and longest course on average and larger outbreaks.
According to the National Weather Service, several hundred wind gusts of at least 75 miles per hour were recorded across the country on Wednesday. The weather service reported that this is the most number of wind gusts recorded in a single day since 2004.
In addition to dust storms in Colorado and Kansas and a tornado in Lincoln, Nebraska, a variety of extreme meteorological conditions were seen this year. According to photographs circulating on social media, damage to hangars and small planes at the Santa Fe Regional Airport in New Mexico was caused by a tornado, as shown in the images.
According to state transportation officials, motorists were warned to avoid the state's roads after bridges were closed in Iowa. A thunderstorm blew into Omaha, and meteorologists with the National Weather Service took a little break from their duties to seek shelter from the elements.
According to local authorities, wildfires and wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour were reported in Kansas due to the storm system. As of Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a warning, noting that power outages would enhance the likelihood of wildfires erupting throughout Kansas, as well as portions of Texas and Oklahoma.
According to a National Weather Service spokeswoman, throughout storms moving over South Dakota, the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls issued the state's first tornado warning on record for the month of December, according to the agency.
And in Iowa, where schools were closed early and wind gusts of up to 90 miles per hour were recorded in some areas, maximum temperatures reached the mid-70s in the afternoon. In December, according to the National Weather Service, high temperatures across much of the state are frequently in the 30s.