The United States is the Earth’s punching bag against bad weather.
Some experts say geography makes the US more intense, costly, more diverse and more frequent than anywhere else on the planet. Two oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, protruding peninsulas such as Florida, clashing storm fronts, and jet streams combine to naturally breed some of the most nasty weather.
That’s just part of it. Nature has made America bad, but people have made it worse by what, where and how they built it, some experts told the Associated Press.
Then add climate change, “Buck it up. More extreme events are expected,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad.
tornado. Hurricane. Flash flood. drought. Forest fire. blizzard. ice storm. No Easter. Lake effect snow. heat wave. Severe thunderstorm. hail. Thunder. atmospheric river. Derecos. Sandstorm. monsoon. bomb cyclone. And the terrifying polar vortex.
North Carolina climatologist Kathy Dero starts with, “Where are we on the planet?” “It’s really a bit… unlucky.”
China may be as populous and sprawling as the United States, but “doesn’t have the same air mass collisions as the United States, which produces a lot of severe weather.” University of South Carolina’s Hazard Vulnerability and Resilience Institute Susan Cutter, Director of , said:
The United States is king of tornadoes and other violent storms.
“It really starts with two things. Number one is the Gulf of Mexico. Number two is the western highlands,” says Victor Gencini, professor of meteorology at Northern Illinois University.
Watch Friday’s deadly weather to see it really happen and watch out for next week…the jet stream.
In the west, it’s the sound of atmospheric river drums. In the Atlantic, winter is a Nor’easter, summer is a hurricane, and sometimes a strange combination of both, like Superstorm his Sandy.
“The reality is that wherever you are in the country, regardless of where you call home, you are most likely experiencing high-impact weather events firsthand,” Spinrad said.
The deadly tornado that hit Kentucky in December 2021 demonstrated the uniqueness of the United States.
They attacked areas with large immigrant populations. People who fled Latin America, Bosnia and Africa were all victims. The big problem was that the tornado didn’t actually occur in those people’s previous homes. So they didn’t know what to watch for, what to do, or even need to worry about tornadoes, said NOAA’s Joseph Trujillo Falcon. A social scientist who investigated the aftermath.
With the cold air of the Arctic and the warm air of the tropics, the regions between them – the mid-latitudes where the United States is located – have the most interesting weather due to how the air behaves in clashing temperatures. Walker Ashley, a professor of meteorology in northern Illinois, says the temperature gradient drives the jet stream.
Then add a mountain range that stretches north-south, jutting out into the west-to-east wind, and below that lies the entire Gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf of Mexico injects hot, moist air beneath cool, dry air often lifted by mountains.
Marshall Shepherd, a professor of meteorology at the University of Georgia and former president of the American Meteorological Society, said that if the United States is bad, the South is bad.
“We’ve drawn a short straw[in the South]where you can experience literally any kind of extreme weather event,” Shepard said. All types.…Nowhere else in the United States can you say that.”
Florida, North Carolina, and Louisiana also protrude into the water, making them vulnerable to hurricane damage, Shepard and Dero said.
The South has a lot of manufactured homes that are vulnerable to all kinds of weather hazards, and storms are more likely at night, Ashley said. It is deadly because it is invisible, less likely to hide, and it is possible to miss a warning while sleeping.
The extreme weather caused by America’s unique terrain poses a hazard. But it takes humans to turn these dangers into disasters, Ashley and Genzini said.
Cutter, of South Carolina, looks to see where cities appear near flooding waters, except for Denver. doing.
“One way to make a community more resilient is to not let it evolve into the most vulnerable way or the most vulnerable part of the community,” said Cutter. . “Having stuck to building barrier islands and developing on barrier islands, especially on the East Coast and Gulf Coast, knowing that sand will move, and that hurricanes will hit with some frequency, it’s going to be huge. It seems like a waste of money.”
Ashley said construction standards are minimal and unlikely to survive the storm.
“Our infrastructure is collapsing, and it’s not climate resistant at all,” Shepard said.
Poverty makes it difficult to prepare for and recover from disasters, especially in the South, Shepherd said. That vulnerability is an even bigger problem elsewhere in the world.
“You can buy safety,” said Ashley. “Those who are wealthy and have resources can buy security and are the most resilient when disaster strikes. …Unfortunately, that’s not all of us.”
“It’s sad that we have to live with these devastating losses,” said Kim Cobb, a professor of environment and society at Brown University. Given the fact that we are vulnerable, we are making our position worse by not understanding the context of vulnerability.”
For AP climate and environment coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment.
Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears.
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https://wgnradio.com/news/the-us-leads-the-world-in-weather-catastrophes-heres-why/ The United States leads the world in weather disasters. Here’s Why | WGN Radio 720