by Dorsi Diaz
Notable climate anomalies began in March when more than 15,000 warm weather records across the country were broken. Many people are starting to ask the same question: As the climate changes, can we expect more of this?
The answer is yes, according to climate change scientists around the world. Extreme weather will now be the norm, instead of the exception. Many that have followed climate change for quite some time are additionally concerned that the earth has reached its “tipping point ”, which is basically a point of no return. This is also a point where abrupt and runway climate change can occur, sometimes within a short span of only years.
While extreme weather across the U.S. in the past week has scientists concerned and people puzzled, millions are starting to get a taste of what it’s like to live in a warming world. With over 1,000 heat records broken in the last few days and extreme heat followed by severe wind, hail, electrical storms and rain, it’s apparent that the long debated beast of climate change has begun to rear its ugly head.
Just within the last few days, over 3.5 million people were without power at one point, with many more areas still in the dark, including parts of Virginia and Washington D.C. The extreme weather has caused at least 13 deaths, two of them a 2 year old boy and his 7 year old cousin that died in New Jersey when a tree struck by lightening fell on the family. There have also been heat related deaths because of a lack of air conditioning, which was knocked out when power went out across several states. The extreme heat over the weekend which was followed by a string of thunderstorms are what’s called a “derecho”, reports Andrew Freedman at Climate Central . A derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.
“Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to that of tornadoes, the damage typically is directed in one direction along a relatively straight swath. As a result, the term 'straight-line wind damage' sometimes is used to describe derecho damage. By definition, if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles ... and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph ... or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho."