Seldom does the National Weather Service employ adjectives like this:
Massive, historic, “biblical” rainfall cascaded through much of Colorado Thursday, leaving three people dead and one missing as of Thursday night as a result of the flooding.(One graph, which unfortunately I do not know how to copy, illustrates just how out of the ordinary this Colorado weather event is. However the graph itself is already out of date, since the torrential rains are now predicted to extend throughout the weekend.)
Up to 8 inches of rain fell across a hundred-mile expanse of Colorado’s Front Range, causing thousands to be evacuated as local streams turned into rampaging torrents. The heavy rains returned to the foothills region Thursday night, with more precipitation forecast for Friday.
The National Weather Service issued constantly-updated versions of a local area forecast, and one at 9:41 a.m. MDT reported a dire warning:
MAJOR FLOODING/FLASH FLOODING EVENT UNDERWAY AT THIS TIME WITH BIBLICAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS REPORTED IN MANY AREAS IN/NEAR THE FOOTHILLS
In fact, the people tasked with describing these events seem to be grasping for adjectives:
“This is clearly going to be a historic event," National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini said in an interview. “The true magnitude is really just becoming obvious now.”As are the people tasked with protecting the public from the consequences of this disaster:
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, after facing 20-foot walls of water racing down canyons already stripped bare by wildfires and drought, said, “This is not an ordinary day. It is not an ordinary disaster.”Is Climate change responsible? Well, as usual, the jury's still out:
A dozen dams overflowed and six actually blew out, while officials were keeping their eyes on several high-hazard dams whose failure would seriously endanger lives.
It will take climate scientists many months to complete studies into whether manmade global warming made the Boulder flood more likely to occur, but the amount by which this event has exceeded past events suggests that manmade warming may have played some role by making the event worse than it would have otherwise been."Worse," meaning the amount of rainfall that has fallen over Colorado in three days has turned what was going on record as Colorado's driest year into its wettest:
On average, Boulder gets about 1.7 inches of rain during September, based on the 1981-2010 average. So far this month, Boulder has received 12.3 inches of rain.Put another way, rainfall like this is likely to occur once every thousand years:
The Boulder, Colo. area is reeling after being inundated by record rainfall, with more than half a year’s worth of rain falling over the past three days. During those three days, 24-hour rainfall totals of between 8 and 10 inches across much of the Boulder area were enough to qualify this storm as a 1 in 1,000 year event, meaning that it has a 0.1 percent chance of occurring in a given year.The Think Progress article, also linked above, notes that what we are seeing in Colorado hasn't been limited to Colorado:
Historic, “unbelievable” rainfall in New Mexico on Thursday caused flooding in areas that typically have little to no flow at this time of year. An area in the Guadalupe Mountains received 11 inches in a 24-hour period. The state has been grappling with intense drought in 2013, and riverbeds that are usually dry have become treacherous. Carlsbad Caverns National Park closed on Thursday because of the flooding.Because, in fact, this is happening everywhere:
Extreme rainfall events have become more frequent across the U.S. during the past several decades in part due to manmade global warming. Increasing air and ocean temperatures mean that the air is generally carrying more water vapor than it used to, and this moisture can be tapped by storm systems to yield rain or snow extremes. Trends in extreme precipitation events vary by region, though, and in general the biggest increases have taken place in the Midwest and Northeast. However, most parts of the U.S. have seen an increase in extreme precipitation events, according to the draft National Climate Assessment report that was released this past January. The report goes on to note that in the future, "increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events are projected for most U.S. areas.”Dr Reese Halter put up an article on Huffpo (linked above), titled, "The Climate Bomb," about an hour ago. The entire piece is worth reading:
Later this month in Stockholm The United Nations panel on climate change will release its long awaited report replete with predictions on our climate. Media moles and self-acclaimed pundits are writing about temperatures rising between 7.2 and 9 degrees (F) (4 and 5 deg C) later this century as if Earth's life support system can handily absorb these deadly numbers.Halter's article explains in detail why the Earth cannot "absorb" this degree of temperature increase, and why what the United Nations panel on climate change is describing is in essence an uninhabitable place for us to live.
We ask you to look very closely at what nature is vividly showing all humankind - frightening symptoms indeed harbingers of what is ahead.I am really at a loss for words.
CBS video from tonight: