(UPDATED Monday, 20 May 2013) The article below was written 24 hours ago on Sunday when the first phalanx of tornadoes passed through the state of Oklahoma hitting Shawnee, a suburb north of the metropolitan Oklahoma City area. After drawing to my readers’ attention forecasts anticipating a new and deadly tornado season for 2013 I documented six weeks earlier, I felt concerned that what I presented below was too intense. That I was, I at least hoped, exaggerating the onset of a late tornado season that would either match or be more dreadful and deadly than the historic 2011 tornado season. I walked out of my office this afternoon, turned on the Weather Channel and saw reality had become science fiction just 90 minutes earlier. On the screen was the aftermath of a vast wedge tornado. The videos broadcasted of it made it look like it came out of the climate change disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow. (Also check out this article: Climate Change.)
It reached its greatest size as it came right over the heavily populated town of Moore, a southern suburb of Oklahoma City. The flattened rows of neighborhoods scourged by devil winds down to the bedrock bones of foundations, the mountains of cars piled like sand dunes of twisted metal laid against a hospital, the collapsed theaters and the elementary school full up of students in lock down, now just a heap–a Hiroshima wind blasted wreck… It was worse, if that is possible to imagine, than the devastation of Joplin Missouri, the city cut in half and cut down by an EF5 tornado in the 2011 season, killing several hundred. The Moore tornado cut a swath 1.5 miles wide with an outside wind wall cast before it knocking flattening a city in a wave of structure splintering force another mile from its epicenter. Some Doppler wind reports had the twister clocking 200 to 215 mph. This will be designated as an EF5 tornado, I am deadly sure of it. If you have not read this article posted yesterday forecasting what is just the beginning of this fatal season of twisters, please do, especially if you are in places that could be next in line for harm’s way:
On 30 March 2013, I gave a reader, an American farmer named Ted, some weather forecasts that will appear in my forthcoming eBook Predictions for 2013 and Beyond. I wrote Ted when winter had a tenacious hold on the US central plains, the Great Lakes and north Atlantic seaboard states.
Today, I am sharing these documented observations on the worst week of tornado disasters in 2013. The twisters came spinning on 15 May in north Texas outside of the Fort Worth/Dallas area. At least 10-to-16 tornadoes were reported, three of which were a couple of EF3 and one 4 magnitudes, spinning at 150 to 200 mph respectively. These unleashed a house and town splintering intensity leaving many a foundation bereft of a standing structure, killing six and injuring over 100.
On Friday, Saturday to today, Sunday, tornadoes and thunderstorms hurled their twisters and golf ball and softball sized hail fury across the high plains in Western Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska then up into Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. Up until recently, the jet stream had remained far south, nestling along the Gulf Coast for most of March and April into May, keeping tornado season quiet. Then the air currents of a bothered climate suddenly swung northward, drawing hot and humid subtropical Gulf moisture over the plains states to collide with Arctic air, the collision of such foments violent weather. On Sunday the Weather Channel correctly forecast the highest Torqon levels of the year anticipating the chance of seven tornadoes in a radius of 50 miles across the eastern portions of Kansas and Oklahoma and the Midwestern states affecting 25 million people. Twenty-four tornadoes and counting passed through these areas on Sunday. Monday will place the same areas under tornado threat of a Torqon of five.
Here is my tornado season forecast of 2013 sent to Ted on 30 March 2013:
Notice how the pattern of this year is similar to that of 2011, only more intense. Remember how 2011 had one snow breaker blizzard after another? Then a shift. Then April came.
Suddenly there was a dramatic change. The winter storms stopped and were replaced with an April tornado season the likes of which was for the record books in deadliness.
So, be mindful in the latter days of mid to late April for tornadic events to be as bad if not worse than 2011 mostly running again through the US southern States but be mindful of eastern Kansas.
Now, things [the drought] will soften in May but be mindful of the move of the jet stream to a higher latitude this year, again, just like what happened in 2011. This means some New England violent tornadic weather again and such lingering through the Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesotan regions.
I hope that helps with your planting needs.
A bit of background is needed to understand my comparison of 2011 with the 2013 tornado season. The 2011 tornado season started late but with a vengeance in the final weeks of April, rampaging across the US southern states, primarily casting devastating swaths through towns and cities of northern Alabama. (Click on tornado diaries).
2013 at the time of this writing has seen 251 tornadoes reported in the US with 231 confirmed. The season started up in mid April with EF2 sightings and damaged in Arkansas, as well as sudden and unseasonably warm shift out of winter weather across Michigan and Ohio with an EF1 touchdown in Ontario Canada. However, April was not the significant advent window I foresaw. The escalation came later. It came in mid-May after a lingering cold and blizzard clogged winter. Was this a sign that global warming is a hoax?
The winter that came so late in 2012 and lingered so long is exactly the kind of weather phenomenon that science forecasts for global warming.
Ever notice how radiantly cold and damp the air gets when snow starts to melt? That is a miniature version of what happens in the northern temperate regions when rapid melt of the polar ice cap releases cool wet air into the atmosphere. That air is sent farther south than usual because of global warming. Years ago climate scientists forecast as much, though politicians and climate change deniers ignore them. The cold wet Arctic air flattens and stretches the Arctic jet stream to allow its southward reach to extend deep into the lower 48 US states.
Notice also, how the shift from the severe winters has in the past several years made sudden and equally violent temperature shifts when at last spring kicks in. This happened in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The shift came a little later in 2013 but this week’s temperatures jumping into the 80s and 90s across the plains states, the US southern and eastern seaboard states announces spring is hot slapping its way into our faces. Parts of Oklahoma this Sunday recorded 100-degree highs before the twisters came.
The jet stream has now heeded to the pressures of the sudden temperature tsunami shifting almost overnight from a violent lingering winter to my forecast of a violent spring, a month late but it comes no less. The jet stream has therefore made its jump north and will, in my view, continue to generally arc farther north than normal, just like it did in 2011 after the first wave of devastation through the US southern states that killed several hundred people.
I am mindful today of what I said six weeks ago to Ted.
“Eastern Kansas” is at this very moment as evening falls in the Midwest under an assault of severe thunderstorms with high wind threats and baseball-sized hail. They get assailed just as people in eastern Oklahoma are witnessing tornadoes winding down. In their wake are many trucks and vehicles blown over on the interstate highways and many shredded trees, flattened trailer parks and piles of kindle wood that had once been houses lie still in the gathering gloom of power outages in Shawnee, OK. Today Minnesota catches grief from thunderstorms dumping 3.5 inches of rain. Illinois and Indiana are visited by wild weather tomorrow as will the same places swept today across eastern Kansas and Oklahoma. I predict this new, 2011-mimicking tornado season will soon send a round of rare tornadic events as far north and east as New England this June.
After I sent the forecast to Ted, I realized I had left out a fundamentally important prediction about the future of the US continental interior drought. That’s what the bracket tries to qualify above after saying “now things [the drought] will soften in May”. In response to Ted writing a follow-up email on 31 March I expounded further about the drought. First his letter:
Thanks so much for writing me back quickly. There was a government crop report that came out on Thursday (3/28) that said that farmers would be planting lots of corn and wheat this year, which drove prices way down. The only problem I see is that 90 percent of the western corn and wheat growing areas are still in moderate to severe drought, so even if we plant lots of corn and wheat, if there is no water, the crops will not grow.
You are right about the winter storms coming, but there still has not been enough water yet for good crops. The government assumes this will be a “normal” year with adequate rain, but I still don’t think so, with the result of more drought problems for the crops. Tornadoes make planting difficult if not impossible, and if the jet stream goes higher this year into Canada, that could also mean less water as the Midwest (Kansas and Colorado) get less rain.
I am trying to plan out my year and I don’t trust the USDA government predictions anymore; I put far more faith into your predictions. What do you think? If the jet stream goes north, will the Midwest still get the water we need for good corn and wheat crops? Or will things be more like they were last summer in 2012 when drought severely affected the planting and growing of corn, wheat and soybeans? I know you are busy with your mother’s care and family issues, and I am sorry to bother you again, but I promise I don’t bother you again with any more questions, if you can just respond to this last email. Thanks again and I hope your mother is doing better! Take care, Ted.
Here is my reply:
Hi Ted. My mother is better. I’m the one more tired now, but still, it is important to help and I want to help with your crop planting decision making, if at all I can. You are making food. That means you are making “life”. This is important.
I forgot to add in my last letter an important addition. What I forgot to add is that this drought is deepening. The aggregate trend is for more drought over the next ten years. We are heading eventually for a dust bowl situation. The lifting of the jet stream farther north as I spoke about will, in the aggregate, continue the drying of the central plain states. We may have a little more rain in these areas in 2013, but the trend is drier. You will need to prepare as best you can for this trend.
If you can invest in more drought-resistant corn and wheat seed, this would be good. I think the rain will be a little better for soy, corn and wheat planting in 2013, but we might return to 2012′s intensity or more in 2014.
I’m sorry to be a harbinger of this bad news. The global warming trends are advancing and humanity is seeking to feed it with record-breaking fossil fuel mining and use in the coming years. This will only dry out the central continental areas in the coming years.
I hope at least that I can aid you in this subjective forecast to decide what you need to do investing time and energy and finances towards your farming.
Let us move forward now, from drought to hurricane seasons. At the time of this writing, the 2013 North Atlantic Hurricane Season is 13 days away from its official beginning on 1 June 2013. This will be the first season in three years where the extremes of La Nina and El Nino influences will be pretty much flat. I wont call the summer weather of 2013 static or “normal”.
There is nothing normal anymore about the world’s weather.
Extreme is the only constant.
The extent of hurricane threats in 2013 will once again for a third season in a row, take aim at the US Atlantic coast states. There is a significant warming of waters off the Atlantic coast of the US. This will draw hurricanes “once again” up the coast for visitations in the same areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy in late October 2012, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.
A full accounting of my forecasts for the weather of 2013 and 2014 will be published mid-June in Predictions for 2013 and Beyond, in the subsection of Chapter 12, entitled It’s Global Warming, Stupid.
There is nothing more significant in the lives of human beings than grasping and then forestalling developing consequences of a planetary climate disaster in the making – our making. I finish this blog today with Shawnee Oklahoma in the corner of my eye on the television screen after its northern suburbs were buzz sawed by a super wedge tornado four miles wide!
How many more of these singularly perverse climate events will it take before you all get your political and industrial leaders in line with the only sequester worth sustaining: a cross-the-board budget cut and sequester of human CO2 emissions to cool down a feverish Planet Earth?
YOUR COMMENTS BEGIN HERE
If for some reason you cannot leave your comments in the comments box below, just send them to me via the “Contact” email button and I will post them here with my inserted replies. We already have collected a large number of interesting comments. Let yours join the fun. Just remember. Keep it clean; keep your comment intelligent and thoughtful. Keep it concise if you want to see your views posted to the world on these pages.
First some comments from my Facebook friends with my answers:
It’s Going To Get Worse Isn’t John?
Yes, it will get worse, much worse, in direct consequence to humanity behaving more stupidly. Our general response as a race to our global warming causing these intensifying climate effects is to break all records drilling, fracking and burning all forms of fossil fuel. We buy our gasoline and throw it on global warming’s fire.
They [tornadoes] are an amazing phenomenon. Too bad they’re so destructive and deadl
I see the beauty in all the great powers of nature and the cosmos. There was great beauty in the Japanese tsunami, in the tornados yesterday in Oklahoma. The terror is man-made, because we build in a tornado’s path, and build alongside the sea that one day feeds us and on other days washes us away. I love the two volcanoes I can see at the end of my driveway when looking out at Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak to the east and northeast of my island in Puget Sound. I love the mile deep glacier that carved these islands and unique inland seas 12,000 years ago. I have lived in earthquake zones all my life because they are meridians of earth-alive energies. There’s a price for every thing we love about what nature gives and takes away.
Dear John, Thanks for the weather report. I’m surprised you didn’t mention that these midwestern farmers are largely planting GMO crops, with all the attendant oil/pesticide consumption. This is definitely NOT the way to work with nature and the elementals that bring water! The future–if there is one–is in small-scale farms and community gardens, and organic everything, not large mono/biotech crops (most not even used for food, used for ethanol). I have compassion for these farmers but not a lot of sympathy while they continue to buy into Monsanto lie. Looking forward to your 2013 and beyond book. Take care, Marg
I try to surprise my readers and always keep ahead of their expectations. I did not comment on the Monsanto issue because it bears no direct influence on the topic of this article. Petroleum based pesticides are not being burned by the billions of tons by car exhausts, factory chimneys and the farts of the livestock we over eat to alter the planet. In short, Margaret, my “apple” topic is not about your “oranges.” Certainly, the Frankenfood issue deserves my commentary but not today. The one correlation you make though which is topical, indirectly to my article concerns farmlands growing grain and corn to feed cars rather than people, thus feeding CO2 emissions into global warming. I anticipated and commented on that sorry turn of events and turning of the fertile earth many years ago in the following forecast, click on Monsanto. (Also check out my Future of Food interview.)
Also I would caution you and the rest of you commenters not to make sweeping judgments about what “these” farmers in the US Midwest are doing. They aren’t all Monsanto-noids. They are not all zombies serving the corporate farm system. Generalities in writing are like flabby muscles on our bodies. Tighten them with specifics, please. Tone up your comments.
I also commented years ago on the future of organic farms, pretty much agreeing with your slant on it. I would only add that what you are describing from this side of history’s shore is on the far distant future shore that only action here and now, political action and pressure, can “build” us a bridge to that utopia.
The first step is to pressure politicians to change the food value systems. Tax junk food and give benefits and investment to organic foods. The nation’s health is a national security issue. Junk food being cheap and healthy foods expensive to grow and purchase can be changed simply by using investment and taxation to change the behavior and turn greed towards profiting on the good rather than the junk. No one’s saying you or I can’t eat shit, but there’s a price t you and me will pay for our individual choices. If I’m going to make myself sick eating crap food then I need to pay higher prices for it. These then will cover investments in healthier choices and cover the medical disasters my bad food choices are setting up for the rest of us to pay when my illnesses burden the society with high health care costs.