Drayton's Gazette discusses social and political issues happening around the globe through the eyes of the African American, minority and disaffected communities.

Climate Change in Full Effect; Is it to Late to Change? by: V. Lyn

There have been record snow fall across the east coast. Most states have recorded snowfall totals that far exceed totals recorded for previous years and we are only a month into winter and have  three months to go. Many states have plummeted into record breaking deep freezes, in the contiguous United States the  coldest recorded temperature of -70 °F on January 20, 1954 at Rogers Pass, Montana, states all along the eastern seaboard are experience temperatures that are below zero compounded by winds that make it seem far colder.  The deep freeze can also been see in parts of Europe, along with catastrophic rain fall amounts that have lead to floods and tragically numerous deaths. This winter the freezing cold and snow has forced airports to come to a screeching halt stranding passengers and cargo from one continent to the next.  In an October 12 th blog http://socyberty.com/society/record-breaking-snow-coming-this-winter/ in an article called  Record Breaking Snow Coming This Winter by Ulsterman in Society,  James Meaks, a  member of the weather sciences division at WCS said  “The 2010-2011 winter patterns that have been forming for North America show us experiencing a colder than normal winter weather cycle, with substantially more snowfall in areas such as the Midwest, Atlantic coast, and Pacific Northwest.  I won’t go so far as to say the winter temps will prove as unprecedented as has been the call for parts of the European continent, we are going to experience a pretty tough winter this year in the States.” The predictions that he made have born true and winter has only just begun. International Falls had a -46.   

  

This week across America  people are bracing for colder temperatures from the Dakotas to Maine temperatures which are already at freezing levels.

There have been record floods in Queensland Australia which has taken over twenty lives and have left 10’s of thousand homeless, and refugees in their own country.  These flood waters now threaten Brisbane, home to over two million people. As of february 1st  the people are evacuating in anticipation of the Catagory 5 Cyclone Yasi that is bearing down on them which can dump 3 feet of rain on them.

“This storm is huge and it is life-threatening,” Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said. “I know many of us will feel that Queensland has already borne about as much as we can bear when it comes to disasters and storms, but more is being asked of us.”

In Brazil over 665 people have died from this floods which is the worst that have seen in over 60 years.  Over 13,000 people have been displaced due to the over a foot of rainfall they had in a two day period and more rain is predicted for the coming week.

Today January 31st, after many on the East coast have dug out from snowfall amounts measured in feet and not inches, can expect more snow,  along with over 30 plus states, covering over 2100 miles and over 100 MILLION plus people in what is being called by meteorologist as a HISTORIC SNOWSTORM!  The National Weather Service has forecast for the Midwest and the Plains freezing rain and snow and heavy snowfall, up to two feet in areas,  Tuesday and Wednesday.  Some areas like Chicago can expect wind gust up to 60mphs and heavy snowfall and ice. The heavy snow and winds have the potential to create snowdrifts from 5 to 10feet The National Weather service has predicted. Visibility for many areas will be nil, and many roadways will not only be snow covered but covered as well with a layer of ice as thick as an inch meterologist predict.  Once the snowfall has ceased a severe cold will grip the nation. Texas  can expect strong and devastating winds, a chance of tornados and thunderstorms.

Many of the 100 plus million people can anticipate downed power lines which means power outages and should prepare for the long haul. Stock  candles, flashlights with extra batteries, non perishable foods like protein bars, dry cereal, and can food with an old fashion can opener (remember there may be no electricity),  bottled water in case your water supply is dependant on electricity, PLENTY of warm blankets and clothing remember your heater depends on electricity as do your stoves and space heaters, know where your local shelter is and if you have pets will they take them in and if not what you should do with them, be prepared to assist your elderly family members or friends,  prepare your car by making sure you have water in the trunk, again PLENTY of warm blankets and clothing down to change of socks!  Keep a window cracked although this is counter intuitive snow can clog you exhaust system causing carbon monoxide poisoning. And do not run the engine continuously instead turn it off and periodically turn it on YOU DO NOT WANT TO RUN OUT OF GAS IN A BLIZZARD. Better Yet if you can avoid traveling in a blizzard do so. Have first aid kits in both your home and vehicle and flashlights with extra batteries.  Have ample snow removal equipment, shovels and de-icers. Charge your cell phones, they can be a life saver, get a walkie-talkie and portable radio.  While this sounds like doom and gloom the fact is Blizzards can be killers. Blizzards and the cold that accompanies it can cause hypothermia and disorientation especially in rural areas as well as many other hazardous conditions.

Chicago 1967  with little warning 23 inches of snow fell catching the residents unprepared over 20,000 cars were abandoned across the city. Every year snow kills 100’s of people. In 1888 “The Great White Hurricane” dumped over a  2 day period dumped over 50 inches of snow and created snow drifts of over 50feet, this storm was concentrated over a much smaller swathe of the country, extending frm  Maryland to the Canadian Maritimes. Over four hundred people died most children. In 1978 many northeastern states received over fifty inches of snow and recorded wind gust in Boston topped 83 mph. Northeast also faced  Hurricane force winds which turned it to a wasteland with it’s inhabitants being stranded for days on end. This storm while it may not drop as much snow is purported to be of HISTORIC proportions and should not be taken lightly.

For those naysayers of climate change perhaps they should ask themselves what is the worst that could happen if we started to improve our climate, and what are the perks of investing in our planet. Perhaps it will create jobs for those many millions of us who are still unemployed or under employed, or better yet perhaps our children will be able to live and survive on a planet that is still habitable. 

 
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