Freakin’ Big Hurricanes and Tornadoes and Floods and Droughts

It would be unseemly to write anything political the morning after ANOTHER tragic weather event, so I won’t do that. I would like to extend sympathy to the people who have lost loved ones and their way of life.

Currently the news in our part of the world is doing a revisiting of the flood we had 5 years ago, which they called a 5000 year flood, or the kind of flood that is only supposed to occur every 5000 years, according to insurance statisticians. In 1998, the year my father died, we had a 1000 year flood. In 2003, another 1000 year flood. The weather, she is changing.

I know you have seen the statistics. Tornadoes are bigger. Windstorms are more violent. Hurricanes are larger and more dangerous and on the increase. There are more earthquakes. More drought. Cities are undergoing desertification. Places like Iowa will have droughts one year (last year) and floods the next (this year). The hot button issue of the middle 21st century will be WATER. We have begun to see climate refugees, leaving Oceania because their coastal homes are being swept away.

Regardless of why you think it happened, we’ve warmed up our environment, deepened our oceans, melted our ice caps. This changes the intensity of weather action, the direction of ocean drift, and the loss of land mass. Global warming does make the ocean hotter. That doesn’t mean that if you have a cold winter, you have no global warming. That means that the warmer ocean is making your weather bigger, scarier.

How can we make sure that our population areas are safer? In Cedar Rapids, for example, we could stop dinking around and build a flood wall on both sides of the Cedar River, instead of just one side because FEMA will pay for it.

We can move people out of at risk climate zones as best we can. Yeah, this one is horrible. At the end of my life, projections are that Miami will be underwater, for example. No one wants to leave the place they love. But I suspect we won’t have much choice in preserving life.

There are certain things we can’t predict. A tornado is like Russian Roulette. So, what can we do to insure the safest tornado conditions we can? Like neighborhood shelters, roadside bunkers for people who are commuting? Make sure mobile home parks are equipped with safety areas.

We know that the weather is not going to get better, nor are things going back to the way they were. Mind, I’d be happy if they did. But we need to think infrastructure, and we need to think safety. We may just be spitting into the wind. I’d like to say we did something, though.

So, again, spare a thought for Oklahoma. Send some money to the Red Cross. And tell our government officials we need to be thinking about these things, as well as better bridges and roads.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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