It is ironic, way beyond ironic really, that the Nation’s Capital—and the entire Northeast– is staring down the barrel of an incredibly powerful storm about which a National Weather Service meteorologist has said, “”I’ve never seen anything like this and I’m at a loss for expletives to describe what this storm could do.”
Perhaps this weather scare that may well be much more than just a scare is God’s revenge for the refusal of the U.S. government to take action on the climate crisis.
Or maybe this is His way of inserting the climate issue into a Presidential election campaign that, astoundingly, has refused to discuss it. The words “global warming” and “climate” were not spoken by anyone, by the moderators or by the candidates, over the course of all four Presidential and Vice Presidential debates.
And let’s be clear: this “Frankenstorm” isn’t a fluke. It is absolutely true that strong storms are not anything new, but the fact is that this second decade of the 21st century, 2010, 2011 and 2012, has seen for the first time ever three consecutive years of 19 or more named storms in the Atlantic Ocean. Since records on Atlantic named storms began to be kept 140 years ago, there are only seven years, in total, where this has taken place. In addition to 2010-2012, there was one in 2005 (28, the record) and one in 1995 (19). There were only two years between 1880 and 1994 where there were 19 or more named storms (19 in 1887, 20 in 1933).
Could this storm, particularly if there’s a direct hit on DC, be what finally lights a fire under Washington politicians to take action? I wouldn’t bet on it. But it almost certainly will increase the numbers of people who make the connection between one extreme weather event after the other and climate disruption, and it damn well better strengthen the growing and urgently needed climate movement.
Get Grist in your inbox