How’s the weather, America? June 26, 2012 edition
Some days, there’s just too much news about the weather to warrant 45,000 individual posts. So, primarily out of laziness, we’ve compiled this handy overview of all of the (mostly but not entirely awful) weather-related things happening across the country. Did we forget/omit some? Probably! Tell us about them in the comments.
Flooding in Florida
Tropical Storm Debby is still hanging out in the little corner of the Gulf carved out by Florida, raining and raining and raining. State officials shut down part of Interstate 10 yesterday after flooding made it impassable.
There has been at least one death related to Debby: A young mother was killed when a tornado spawned by the storm upended her house. A man in Alabama was swept out to into the Gulf and has not been found. Oy.
Earthquakes in Texas
A 2.6-magnitude quake, like the one that hit just south of Fort Worth, is not particularly severe. But what makes it noteworthy is the cause.
The quake has been blamed on a nearby saltwater injection well of the sort recently analyzed by ProPublica. That report also documented the ways in which wastewater and other toxic fluids can leak out of the wells through small fissures. You know a good way to create fissures? Earthquakes.
This whole “inject things in the ground, watch earthquakes result, repeat” pattern belies claims that humans are rational.
Heat in Colorado
In addition to the raging wildfires in the state (such old news that they don’t even warrant placement on the map), Colorado has seen record temperatures across the state. A peak of 114 degrees F in Las Animas on Saturday tied an all-time recorded high.
“When it’s that hot, it just dries the fuels even more. That can make the fuels explosive,” said Steve Segin, a fire spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
At least it’s not like the fires are permanently altering the mountain ecosystem.
Wildfires in the Southwest
It appears that the wildfires raging in the Southwest may also be permanently altering the mountain ecosystem.
Increased density of forest cover combined with a drier cycle beginning in 1996 meant much larger fires than in the past. From The New York Times’ Green blog:
“These forests did not evolve with this type of fire,” said Dr. Allen. “Fire was a big deal in New Mexico, but it was a different kind of fire.” The result, he said, is that the species that now live there — ponderosa pines, piñon, juniper — cannot regenerate, and new species are moving in to take their place.
“Ecosystems are already resetting themselves in ways big and small,” Dr. Allen said. The challenge for managing these ecosystems, he said, is to try to help them adapt.
Granted, this isn’t weather for today, but rather an ongoing shift in the world as we know it, resulting from the weather today. We regret the error.
A duck somewhere drank rain out of the sky
In an effort to balance the news above with something that is both (1) topical and (2) adorable, here is a duck in the rain.