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July 27, 2006

How's The Weather? Environment

Something's up with the weather. Here in Madison, the summer's been a freaky succession of highly localized, unusually potent storms leaving trails of downed trees and power outages. Here's a parking lot near downtown Madison, lunchtime today, after one of these micro cloudbursts:

That ain't normal.

Elsewhere, it's hot. Record high temperatures are being recorded in the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Here in the US, hundreds of thousands of people have been subjected to heat-related power outages lasting many days in NYC, St. Louis, and California. Scores if not hundreds of people have died. There was a time when it would have seemed like a big deal; now it's just the way things are. The public infrastructure is unraveling, and we're already getting hardened to it. Like New Orleans, only less so. Sign of the times.

Meanwhile, the weather just doesn't feel normal. I know, I know — individual weather events prove nothing about larger patterns (so you can spare me the usual comments and emails). Still, are we not to credit the evidence of our own senses? How's the weather where you are?

Posted by Jonathan at July 27, 2006 09:41 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb


The weather "turned" last year in washington state. Last march it was unseasonably warm, even hot, at a time when it is usually raining buckets and chilly.

This year, our summer is much hotter than usual - - but that is true everywhere.

Truly weird, also for california I understand, has been the humidity. Not a weather pattern we are used to on the coast (winds usually clear it out)

Posted by: Jon S. at July 28, 2006 12:11 AM

Here in Michigan, the weather has been almost constantly pleasant for the past three years. Even the winters have been quite mild, and while we've had a few pretty hot days this summer, we've had nothing like California. This is definitely not normal!

Posted by: Bob at July 28, 2006 09:50 AM

Up here on the south shore of Lake Superior, we are having the dryest summer since the 1930s, also very hot. The predicted high for Monday is 100

Posted by: Gumpa at July 28, 2006 10:48 AM

In northern New England, we have also been having a lot of brief, intense storms this summer.

One episode 2 weeks ago in northeast VT involved 15 minutes of 80 mph winds that blew down hundreds of trees and moved a police car 40 feet (policeman inside). Short thunderstorms with hail are happening every week or two in Massachusetts. And you may remember all the flash flooding we had in MA and NH last Fall and Spring.

These quickie extreme weather events are a new thing around here.

Posted by: Lisa at July 28, 2006 08:53 PM

Up until this year, Milwaukee has had weather like Michigan as Bob stated, mild summers and winters. This summer has been hot and humid, and like in Madison, with short, bursty sometimes intense storms. Just Thursday night a thunderstorm rolled in erasing the mostly sunny day. About 10 minutes of very intense rain with a few minutes of hail. Half hour later the sun was back out.

The biggest difference I've noticed in the last few months is the increased frequency in which storms develop over SE Wisconsin. Our storms almost always blow in, mostly from the west, but sometimes from the north and south. I usually notice this at Intellicast.com using the looping satellite feature, but a week or two ago I bore witness to a storm that unfolded overhead.

Weather in Milwaukee has been only slightly off the last few years - nothing overly dramatic. If I didn't have the knowledge of other global warming events taking place simultaneously around the world, I wouldn't be able to attribute my personal weather observations to anything major or far reaching.

Posted by: Jeff at July 29, 2006 08:39 PM