The recent bomb cyclone event created havoc on our parched west coast and then proceeded to march across the country and drench everything in its path, including our already waterlogged east coast in just a matter of a few days. There are hundreds of thousands without power and many others are dealing with damaged homes and flooded cars. Our west coast has been in a serious drought for quite some time and the recent wildfires have burned the ground cover, leaving everything bare and ripe for mudslides. It seems like we can't win for losing.
Our weather is getting worse
If weather disasters seem to be increasing, it isn't your imagination. Warmer temperatures warm the oceans, creating more water vapor and the resulting wet atmosphere is the catalyst for terrible storms. It seems that these storms are happening five times more often and causing seven times more damage than the weather in the 1970's. Fortunately, despite the damage, deaths due to weather events haven't grown proportionally to the destruction. We've better warnings and people for the most part, are heeding them.
Bomb cyclones are becoming more frequent
We've actually had two bomb cyclones on the west coast this week and a nor'easter on the east cost that has been labeled one as well. A bomb cyclone happens when the barometric pressure drops rapidly in a 24 hour period. An atmospheric river picks up moisture over the warm ocean and drops it over the cooler land. This is known as bombogenesis and the resulting storm dumps inches of water and causes hurricane-force winds where it makes landfall. These storms move rapidly and cause destruction and power outages as they move across the country. The Missouri and Illinois tornadoes this week were the result of one of these bomb cyclones and there seems to be yet another one taking aim at the Pacific Northwest at this writing.
Every home should prepare for potential disasters
We can't control the weather, however we can be prepared. Every home should have at least three or four days of non-perishable food that doesn't require cooking available. Granola, nut butters, dried fruit, crackers, canned tuna or chicken (don't forget a manual can opener!) are all good choices that store well. Make sure you have a battery or solar powered weather radio, flashlight, a good first aid kit and fresh drinking water for every member of the family. You should keep your important papers in a watertight container and medications where you can grab and package them in leak-proof containers as well. Don't forget your pets either. Make sure you have their food stored safely and they should be microchipped along with a collar that clearly offers any information that will get them safely home. There are also storage devices that will keep your cell phones or laptop charged that can also jump a car battery. They are handy in a number of emergencies. A car charger for your cell phone is another economical thing to make sure you have. If your car starts, you can charge your phone, so fill it up with gas if a storm is headed your way. There are even small generators that can keep a refrigerator running that can save your food.
Climate is definitely changing
The climate of this world is definitely changing. Between 1900 and 1980, new record temperatures were recorded every 13.5 years. From 1981 to present, record temperatures are now recorded every 3 years, so the situation is becoming grim. The 10 warmest years on record have been since 2005. Warmer climate means more storms and so that means a better chance of intense ones as well. With the bulk of our population living on the coasts, more people are in the path of danger. Wind and floods disrupt power and roadways, with people being displaced and their lives turned upside down. Drought affects agriculture and dry conditions are prone to wildfires. Conserving what resources we have should be something that every one of us needs to do.
Stay prepared for disaster
Prepare for the worst and then be thankful if it doesn't happen. Keep essential supplies handy and refresh them as needed, so nothing spoils. Be aware that weather conditions across the continent can affect people hundreds or thousands of miles away. We can't control the weather, so preparing for its worst is the best we can do. At this point, we're not going to be able to change the big things, however each of us should be aware of our own carbon footprint and work to have a more sustainable lifestyle. Reduce waste, reduce energy consumption and reuse and recycle all that we can. It won't prevent bomb cyclones or hurricanes, however what we can do today, might mitigate the problems down the road for our children or grandchildren. We've only got this one planet and we've abused it for thousands of years, so it isn't going to change overnight. All we can do is stay informed and prepare intelligently for disaster.
When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commissions at no cost to you.