Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Glad to live in Minnesota but don’t be complacent

It’s true the last two weeks of Minnesota weather have not been the best. In the days before Christmas we had blizzard conditions and very high winds throughout much of the state. Then the New Year brought another round of heavy snow to much of Minnesota while here in the southeastern part of the state we got less snow but more ice.

Still blizzards and ice storms are not totally unknown to Minnesotans even if they usually don’t happen so close together. The storms came but within a day or two of when they passed things were back to normal. And lives were not lost.

All-in-all though the weather in Minnesota the past year has not been terrible. That is more than much of the country can say.

Even this week thousands of residents in California have been told to leave their homes as heavy rains have caused flooding. The relentless storms have killed at least 15 people in the state since late December.

The before Christmas storm that went through Minnesota a few weeks ago caused much more damage in other parts of the country. Buffalo, N.Y., for example, received several feet of snow and suffered casualties.

A just-released report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that in the past year the United States saw 18 climate extreme events. Federal climate scientists calculated that these events caused at least $1 billion each in damage for a total of more than $165 billion.

NOAA uses that data to determine how bad human-caused climate change is getting. The statistics show they led to at least 474 deaths.

The United States has always had the most diverse and intense weather and climate extremes as compared to the rest of the world. The problem is the risk of these extreme events are increasing and they are affecting all areas of the world.

Perhaps the scariest thing about this is these extreme events are becoming the new normal.

Yes, Minnesotans can take some comfort that the most catastrophic of these events have bypassed the Gopher state but it is not the time to feel complacent.

Weather and climate are not the same thing, but it is undeniable that both are changing and it’s time that all of us, even in Minnesota, start paying attention.

And on another note, given the two storms that just struck the area, let’s not forget to say thank you to those who worked through it all, and on holidays, to keep the rest of us safe. Thank you to snowplow drivers, law enforcement people, EMTs, maintenance workers, and others who worked so hard.



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